Rogue Creamery Cheeses.....
In my new found passion for blues, I've tried several from RC. I've had the pleasure of sampling Rogue River Blue, Smokey Blue, Caveman Blue and Oregonzola. I would love to hear from others that have tried their Echo Mountain, Crater Lake, Flora Nelle (their only blue made w/ pasteurized cow's milk) or the new Blue Heaven Shaker (powdered blue cheese). What did you shake it on? Would also like info on any of the many cheddars they produce? TIA
The Crater Lake is my favorite, I find it to be on the milder side, or maybe just a nicely balanced blue cheese.
The smoked blue is a lot stronger, plus is has the addition of smoke flavor, which makes it a very unusual cheese. Love it, but in smaller quantities.
Just looking at the web site, they have some new flavors for cheddar that I haven't tried, but the versions of plain and flavored cheddar that I have tried in the past have been very good. They do a good job of integrating the flavoring agents, so the cheese and flavoring really blend together, rather than seeming like an afterthought. (If that makes sense.)
The one that I didn't like very much was the TouVelle, just a rather bland, plain cheese, not bad, but not very interesting either.
I have a shaker from a trip to their shop last month, but haven't tried it yet. I was thinking it would be great on salad to add a little flavor to a vinaigrette.
I picked up some of the Rogue River Blue they had. It is their 80th anniversary release "special reserve," and it had a little more sweetness from the pear brandy than I recall my past orders of the RRB have had. I really loved it.
But the blue that always blows my mind is the Rogue Creamery Brutal Blue. It is the strongest of their blues, aged for three years, and is only available at the creamery. I made sure ot bring plenty home with me.
l personally find the original Rogue River blue wrapped in grape leaves in my favorite of the American Blues by a wide mark. Their other offerings have not won a place in my heart.
Downside of the RR blue is the cost that makes it one of the world's most expensive cheeses.
I like their cheeses but am really not a fan of the Reserve blue cheese which has seem to have won the hearts of many.
Caveman Blue is my favorite from Rogue.
I have their Blue Heaven Powdered Cheese and haven't tried it much (theme here?). I think deviled eggs, fries and popcorn are what I'm going to try first. I also wonder if you could make a crust of sorts on a ribeye and then sear it in...
Rogue has a listing of ideas for the powdered blue:
Yesterday we experimented a bit with the Blue Heaven shaker provided as a testing sample. What we had in mind was taking advantage of the powdered, dry form rather than seeing it as a substitute for blue cheese.
First thing, we figured we'd better taste it to see if we liked it. The powder is very fine, much like orange stuff in the envelope that comes with Kraft mac & cheese blue box. The flavor is a bit milkier, sweeter and milder than actual Rogue blue cheese. And some of it forms into clumps the size of the holes in the shaker top when you shake it out. It's not that easy to distribute evenly.
We shook it on some apple slices. While the taste was fine, the dry powder detracted from both appearance and mouthfeel. Same appearance problem when sprinkled on tomato slices though in that case the powder liquifies a bit and isn't grainy against the tongue.
Then we tried it on an arugula salad served with caper vinaigrette. It took quite a bit to get a true blue flavor, and it looked bad as powder. The salad was an accompaniment to beef carpaccio (raw prime grade beef tenderloin sliced and pounded) that was dressed with lemon juice and zest, extra virgin olive oil, and cracked black pepper. I tried some of the Blue Heaven on the raw beef and it tasted muddled. The shavings of Fiscalini San Joaquin Gold fit into the flavors better.
Best application was sprinkled on corn on the cob. We slathered the hot corn with butter and then sprinkled it on. I found that this worked better when the corn was buttered AND salted as well, then adding the Blue Heaven. It's not quite salty enough to be a salt substitute or stand-in as a seasoned salt, but the extra salt did the trick.
Continuing to think about other uses, we thought that it would be good on popcorn or tossed with hot freshly roasted nuts. In either the powdery texture won't be an issue.
For a blue cheese lover, this may too mild in taste. I had to put a pretty thick coating on my corn on the cob to give it a definitive flavor. For me Blue Heaven's value is as a shelf-stable pantry item for when I don't have time to buy a piece of blue cheese to prepare a meal. And in those cases, it will be second best to the real thing.
re: Melanie Wong
Thanks for reporting back on Blue Heaven. Was initially eager to try it. Now... I'm not so sure. When I first read about this product my first thought turned to using it on popcorn. Would still like to know. Worth it or not? If not, I'll still with some freshly grated pecorino romano.