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Help me learn to like Blue Cheese!

I'm a cheese-lover, but I just can't stand anything with blue in it (ditto with really strong chevres, too, actually). Can't handle the strong flavor.

The problem is, I really WANT to like it. I believe it's an acquired taste, just like many other things I've "learned" to appreciate, that maybe I didn't like in my teens or college days (spicy curries, red wine, black coffee, etc.).

So, how do I start getting accustomed to it? I'm living in France until January and would love to like blue cheese by the time I leave. Any more milder types that someone could suggest? Maybe I can "work my way up?"
Any suggestions?
Thanks!

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  1. Wash it down with a glass of Sauternes!

    1. Try a blue creme - they have the characteristic blue flavor but are much less assertive than the blue/roquefort/gorgonzola types. The ones I'm familiar with are Blue Castello (triple creme) and Saga Blue (double creme). They're both from Denmark, so I don't know what their availability might be in France, but if you can't find them there's probably a French equivalent.

      1 Reply
      1. re: FlyFish

        FlyFish took the words right out of my keyboard. I've enjoyed a few Italian blue cremes and found them to be less assertive. Pair that with some honey of your choice and some nice bread (maybe some figs or nuts as well) and I think you're good to go. If you're a port drinker, then even better.

        My most recent taste was Blue del Monviso from Piedmonte. Here's a somewhat recent article I found:

        http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

      2. I was going to suggest trying a gorgonzola instead

        Another idea is to make some home made blue cheese dressing, using less than the recipe calls for; and then increasing
        Serve over lettuce wedge w/bacon chips

        I love Love LOVE good blue cheese dressing

        1. Try pairing it with fruits--pears, apples, figs, and nuts. The sweet will balance the tang of the cheese and may help you develop that taste.

          1. Cambozola which I have always assumed is Camembert - with a streak of blue running through the middle

            13 Replies
            1. re: c oliver

              Cambozola is a manufactured triple cream highly pasturized product, made for supermarket use with long shelf life, it is worse for your body than ice cream. If you want a French version that is better tasting and texture and far better for you, try St Agur. It is gentle and ultra creamy.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Well, many of us do like and eat ice cream, and pasteurized cheeses with a long shelf life. I enjoy many unpasteurized cheeses, and eat them, as well. Did so when I travelled in Paris, and, thankfully, in Toronto, where I live, we can now buy unpasteurized cheese, though we couldn't until relatively recently because the government, in its eminent wisdom, wanted to protect us from bacteria.

                What, exactly, do you mean when you say that St. Agur is "far better for you"?

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  >>"Worse for your body than ice cream"<<

                  How? I understand that pasteurization will affect flavor, but why do you believe it is unhealthy? And what's wrong with ice cream?

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    This is on another post but here goes, pasteurization is not like pregnancy, it is a ladder; From Raw milk through thermalization to eventually 'processed' cheeses; While cambazola is not processed it is relatively high up on the temp chart. Only large companies can afford the equipment required to high heat pasteurize the product. The advantage to them is to increase the shelf life quite a bit, thus known as supermarket cheeses. As to the negativity to us the consumer was reported in the late seventies as part of the 'French paradox', whereby the French while eating lots of cheeses, goose/duck fat and red wine were doing better health wise than many other western nations. The research found that red wine was good for the heart, goose/duck fat was monosaturated like olive oil, and part three, the cheeses which got far less press. Raw or lightly pasteurized cheeses did not break the bonds of the fats and thus they were not like polyunsaturates and were excreted by the body instead of depositing somewhere in the body. Thus you were better eating raw cheese than eating heavily pasteurized products such as processed cheeses, sour cream, and ice cream. While no one can say a triple cream cheese, which is normal cheese to which a significant amount of cream is added, is good for you, St Agur might be considered better than heavily pasteurized products such as Cambazola. Let the games begin!

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      Do you have any reliable sources you can point to that demonstrate this change in fats and how it affects those eating the cheese? Like, actual studies with plausible nutritional information, not just people surmising this or that. (I have been unable to find anything like this, and if the data is out there, I am surprised that the raw milk/cheese promoters don't publish it alongside their claims).

                      For sure, there are claims made by each side of the camp; No doubt there are differences, but I have not been able to find anything that convinces me I would be a lot healthier if I stuck to unpasteurized cheese.

                      Edit: In particular, I find this site entertaining.

                      http://corehealthnutrition.com/index....

                      In one of 8 points meant to convince us of the health benefits of raw milk and raw milk cheeses, it states (point 3, no less):

                      "The Raw Milk Cheese Association advocates cheese that's produced from raw, unpasteurized milk. "

                      Oh, really.... Quelle surprise!!!!

                      1. re: Full tummy

                        When l used to sell product l gave out copies of the articles (3) to any customer who wanted them. The store l was with had gotten them from the 60 minutes show on the french paradox, who would give them out to anyone who asked. That was quite a while ago, sorry. Today if l approach a cardiologist with this info he looks more than askance at me, but there was research done. One more fact for your fire, again cannot prove it. No evidence of illness has been caused by raw cheese . All the effects spoken about, e.g. listeria, have been caused by improperly pasteurized cheeses.

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          I'm not concerned with the bacteria in raw milk cheese. Listeria is usually not a problem, unless you're already compromised somehow. I'd just like to see that nutritional information. I'm not surprised that "60 Minutes" did a show on the "French Paradox", but I haven't been able to find anything more concrete than hypotheses developed as a result of the statistics. Any studies are, mysteriously, not available. The existence of a French Paradox, and the reasons therefore, are all still contentious issues. Resveratrol in red wine; the lack of trans fats in French diets, etc., these are all reasons presented in many places, but I have found nothing about your assertions about the fats being altered through pasteurization making them more likely to be deposited in the body. One can always wish, though, because I sure wouldn't mind that.

                          1. re: Full tummy

                            Well, you're not finding any articles on pasteurization changing the structure of milk fats because it doesn't (here's a link to one technical article supporting that: http://jds.fass.org/cgi/reprint/81/12...), French Paradox and 60 Minutes notwithstanding. And certainly pasteurization doesn't hydrogenate (saturate) the milk fats (i.e., add hydrogen across the carbon double bonds) because that process requires different conditions of temperature and pressure, as well as, often, a nickel catalyst.

                            Delucacheesemonger is confused about a few other things as well, e.g., pasteurization is only one of several steps involved in making processed cheese (and the other members of the processed cheese "family"), and is arguably one of the more benign. I don't care for processed cheese either, but not because it's pasteurized. Polyunsaturated fats are in fact the "good fats" and don't "deposit" in the body (I'm not aware of any evidence that any fats in fact deposit in the body, whatever that means). And fats in whatever form (well, except for the laboratory-synthesized abominations like Olestra, which can't be absorbed) aren't simply excreted - they're digested like pretty much every other organic molecule we eat and used to fuel our bodies.

                            That said, I suspect that a nice unpasteurized triple creme may well be better for you than the same number of calories obtained from Ben and Jerry's (make mine chocolate chip cookie dough), but I doubt that pasteurization has anything to do with it.

                            1. re: FlyFish

                              Hi FlyFish, thanks for the link, but alas it doesn't work; it says "page not found".

                              Certainly nobody has mentioned anything about trans-fats occurring in cheese, unpasteurized or pasteurized, and I don't think the conversation has, at any point, touched on "processed" cheese, which is a different thing. The comparison was, originally, between something like Cambozola and a raw milk blue cheese. I think when Delucacheesemonger uses the word "processed" he means the process of pasteurization. That is very different than the process used in "processed cheese". Sorry if this is confusing, but let's just get cheese slices off the table, here. (I am assuming that when you say you "don't care for processed cheese", that you mean cheese slices, since even unpasteurized cheese must have gone through some sort of process to go from milk to cheese.)

                              Saturated fats are more likely than unsaturated fats to build up in the heart, the arteries, etc., and I think that was what Delucacheesemonger was referring to. However, the notion that the healthier fats are changed through pasteurization is what I was questioning. Heavens, that would mean any cooking or baking would result in healthy fats being turned into unhealthy fats. Surely nobody would suggest that cooking salmon changes the fat so that you might as well have been eating bacon. But, the argument could be made, if what Delucacheesemonger said is true.

                              1. re: Full tummy

                                Hard to figure out exactly what he was saying, but whatever it was, it wasn't something that I learned in my organic chemistry classes. With regard to saturated fats, I think the clinical literature is not as clear as many think. It certainly seems to have been established that if you have elevated serum cholesterol and triglycerides you can reduce your levels by decreasing saturated fats in the diet. I'm less convinced that the reverse is true in the healthy population, i.e., that you can raise your levels by increasing saturated fats. I know that there have been some studies using lower animal surrogates that indicate that, but I'm not sure it's been satisfactorily established in humans (but I could be convinced otherwise if someone has a citation or two). Regardless, I think the original claim was that the saturated fats in unpasteurized cheese are somehow better (or less harmful) than the saturated fats in ice cream made from pasteurized milk/cream, and I don't think there's any reason to believe that to be true.

                                See if this link works now:
                                http://jds.fass.org/cgi/reprint/81/12...

                                1. re: FlyFish

                                  Thank you so much for the link.

                                  Delucacheesemonger used the word "polyunsaturates", as though it's a bad thing, but he didn't identify the type of fat that, according to him, is found in raw milk cheese that, according to him, gets excreted. You are right that there is no such thing as oil getting excreted unless we're talking about olestra or other oils that are not digested properly usually due to a digestive problem in the person and not as a result of the oil. I'm a little confused, because I have always thought that it was trans-fats and saturated fats that ended up clogging up our circulatory systems. Of course, that's an oversimplification. So, yes, I, too, am confused by the use of the word "polyunsaturates".

                                  No doubt heat, especially high heat, can have ill effects. I think there are issues with heat and Omega fats, the formation of acrylamides in starchy things, and carcinogens in charred meat. I'm not worried about pasteurization.

                  2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    St. Agur is my favorite bleu, but it would be too much for someone who thinks they don't like blue cheese. Chances are they like camembert, so they might like Cambozola as it is very mild and creamy.

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      Did you really just compare a cheese to ice cream? Are you against all pasteurized cheeses?