Bleu d'Auvergne -- raw or cooked?
I just tucked into some tasty stinky Bleu d'Auvergne and am puzzled by the big red sticker on the chunk that says RAW MILK -- the price/weight label also says it's "raw milk cheese imported from France". My cheese primer indicates this cheese is always pasteurized. It's cousin, Bleu de Causses is always unpasteurized. But, I trust my cheesemonger. What am I missing?
Yeah -- I'm lucky enough to live near Formaggio, the cheesemonger to the stars (ha) here in Cambridge Mass. After cornering my cheese guy next to the cave, he admitted this Bleu d'Auvergne was raw, not pasteurized and not "technically" legal for sale in America but part of a shipment that they received in error. I've never really understood what they can and cannot sell. In any event, it was delightful. And yes, I understand Jenkins might be a bit out of date but he loves the cheese I love (the stinkier the better) so I take his advice seriously. Thanks for the help.
It's my understanding that raw milk cheese can only be sold legally in the US if it has been aged for 60 days or more. And I think that Bleu d'Auvergne is aged only for about 1-2 months, so varieties made from raw milk should be illegal here.
I remember reading a big story in the San Francisco Chronicle a few months ago about how it's pretty easy for cheese stores to circumvent the law and import and sell illegal raw cheeses. I personally don't have a problem with that "shady" practice, as I like raw cheeses, and I feel that most of us face bigger health worries in our food than underaged French cheese (sushi... beef tartar...). But I do have a big problem with a store's misrepresenting raw cheese as pasteurized, and I think that you should consider reporting Formaggio Kitchen to the Health Department immediately, or at least asking them to stop misrepresenting their cheese. If a pregnant woman or an immunocompromised person had consumed that cheese and become sick, there could have been big problems.
Yes, Bleu d'Auvergne is produced in both pasteurized and unpasteurized (raw) milk versions and have been available in both versions for at least 4 or 5 years in this country.
When you say "my cheese primer", does that mean Steven Jenkins' book? If so, some information on availability of certain cheeses is outdated, being published in 1996.
_French Cheeses_ by R.Hodgson (Dorling Kindersley 2000)
In 1997, 134 tons of 9017 tons produced were made with raw milk.
Either you got very lucky or it was misslabled.