No record exists of the first Blue Cheese. Some historians suggest that mold from the Penicillium family was accidentally transferred from bread to a nearby piece of cheese. Because the development of blue mold occurred randomly, Blue cheeses were highly prized. Today, cheesemakers add appropriate mold cultures to develop blue veins in the cheese, which has a piquant, full, earthy flavor that varies among styles, and a firm, crumbly texture. Wisconsin cheesemakers produce a number of award-winning Blue cheeses.
Cheddar with Blue Veining
Made in the style of a Cheddar, this cheese has blue veining throughout, leading to a blend of flavors between Cheddar and Blue cheese. Texture varies from creamy to firm, depending on how the cheese is aged.
Wisconsin Italian-style Gorgonzola resembles the dolce latte or sweet milk Gorgonzolas of Italy that are especially creamy. Gorgonzola gets its name from the town located in the Po Valley near Milan where it has been made since A.D. 879. American-style Gorgonzola, produced in Wisconsin, has less moisture and is more crumbly with a full, earthy, piquant flavor and a creamy, soft interior with greenish blue veins and a rusty brown inedible rind. Gorgonzola is typically produced in flatter wheels than the traditional Blue.
This traditional washed-rind Alpine-style cheese is made with raw cow’s milk and aged at least 6 months. The cheese features a pale ivory paste with small, irregular holes, and a smooth and nutty flavor.
Similar to traditional blue cheeses with blue veining running throughout, mixed-milk blues get distinctive flavor and characteristics from the use of a combination of cow, goat, and/or sheep milks.
Ziege Zacke Blue
Made from a combination of cow and goat milk, Ziege Zacke Blue is similar to a dry Monterey Jack with a wave of Blue mold running through it. Cellar-cured for up to four months, the cheese features a natural rind, creamy texture, and a slightly tangy yet sweet flavor, with rich earthy and bluesy notes.