Before I entered the gastronomy faculty, I only knew two types of “blue” cheese and actually thought it was one type: the Italian Gorgozola and the French Roquefort. Like, one was the other, only it had a different name in each country. Anyone else too? And when my little brother came home after playing a whole day on the street the joke was:
“- Hey mom! The brother has arrived!
– Oh yes? I didn’t hear anything … how do you know?
– Just feel Roquefort’s fedozão! ”
PHOTOS: Paulo Cuenca – Instagram: @paulocuenca
Well, after starting to study the world gastronomy, I discovered that this was not only false but also that in several European countries there are different types of these “blue” cheeses. Here in Queijolândia for example, the variety is absurd! From the lightest and most delicate to those with more pronounced flavors and aromas … well, foot aromas with (very) foot odor. But why “blue cheese?”. Well, these cheeses during their manufacture receive an injection of fungi Pinicillium which in turn form veins of colors ranging from blue to green. Depending on the region in which they were made and the quality of the cheese, the flavor varies a lot! And for those who were used to the pungent salt of Gorgonzola, like me, no wine was good … again, the salt of the cheese and the tannin of the wine (that substance present in the grape skin responsible for the color and the feeling of bitterness and astringency in the mouth) when combined they gave a very unpleasant metallic feeling… to top it off, the little variety of blue cheeses at good prices in Brazil detracted a little from the experience.
Passing a wine store the other day I found a wine called Crozes Hermitage, a very specific type that I had the pleasure of tasting but it wasn’t very intimate. Crozes Hermitage is a wine from the northern part of the Rhône Valley in France made with a grape called Syrah, a darling also from producers in other parts of the world. Australia, for example, has adopted the Syrah grape as one of its symbols and over there they prefer to call it Shiraz. The Syrah grape generally produces more robust and full-bodied wines, but the intensity of these wines varies greatly depending on where the grape was grown.
The wine we tasted, Crozes Hermitage from producer Cavede Tain, one of the largest in the region, had 12.5% alcohol, while other wines from the Syrah or Shiraz grape produced in other regions of the world usually start at around 13.5% and, believe me, it makes a big difference! The percentage of alcohol in wine influences the feeling of “weight” in the mouth or “body” of the wine. The more alcohol (and tannins) a wine has, the more full-bodied! This particular one we tasted was on point, it was from the 2009 harvest, it had aromas of spices, red fruits and black fruits (blueberry type), it aged in French oak barrels and we felt like it was a velvet in the mouth, so balanced!
One of the classic pairings for blue cheeses is sweet wines, or dessert wines, known as “Late Harvest” or “Late Harvest”. When asked what the staff preferred to taste, “dessert wine or red wine?”, He won the red wine unanimously! But I was willing to try a different blue cheese. So I turned the internet upside down until I found the perfect combination for Crozes Hermitage: a French blue cheese called Fourme d’Ambert!
Who? Yeah … I wrote down the name on a piece of paper and took it with me to buy the cheese because I couldn’t decorate the name of the handsome at all! The Fourme d’Ambert is a cheese from the Auvergne region, in the Loire Valley (I’m saying that the Loire Valley is my youngest childhood best friend …). It is made with cow’s milk and carries the same fungus as Roquefort, the Pinicillium Roqueforti, but it has a more yellowish color, is softer and the dough is less brittle. And its taste is much less salty; it is delicate and velvety in the mouth! The aroma, however, is quite pungent (that is, chulézão … I don’t recommend tasting indoors …). Great combination for reds and perfect with our wine, Crozes Hermitage!
Wines originating from the Appellation of Controlled Origin of Crozes Hermitages are produced by different producers and cooperatives in the Rhône Valley. That is, you can find a lot of variety on the market, at all types of prices! A well-known Crozes Hermitage producer in Brazil is Paul Jaboulet Aîné. If you can’t find a Crozes Hermitage that you like, ask the wine consultant of the store of your choice for some other wine that is from the Syrah grape, and preferably, that is not very alcoholic! Suddenly an Australian or something from Argentina, who always has excellent bargains!
The Fourme d’Ambert can be replaced by some other blue cheese that has a similar quality. The variety of blue cheeses here in France is very large and I confess that I am still ignorant of blue cheeses and, to help, my boyfriend is not a big fan of this type of cheese… you can ? Bad luck for him, then there’s more for me!