This blog has been threatened by a number of factors over the last several months: travel, a broken fridge, cost,and a head cold, but nothing has truly put it to the test like this week’s foible: a cleanse. A cleanse is a sort of masochistic eating regime hypothetically created to cleanse the body of toxins. In reality, I suspect many folks-along with myself, indulge in a cleanse in order to shed some excess weight. The rules of this cleanse are easy-peasy: if it’s something that’s yummy, you can’t have it, if it’s something that’s gross, go for it! Luckily it’s only 7 days and I am half way through, but let me be clear: cheese is absolutely not permitted on this cleanse. So what’s a turophile with a weekly cheese blog to do? Here it is, I’m breaking the cleanse just for you, gentle reader-that’s how much I care. Hopefully my cleansed body won’t go into shock.
What better way to break a cheese fast than with a blue cheese! I do adore me some blue, and have thus far sampled the big three, Stilton (yum) Gorgonzola (a little less yum) and Roquefort (not really that much yum at all) and it has come to my attention that there is another big player in the Blue cheese scene, and that is “Danish Blue” aka Danablu. There are several cheese makers claiming to make a “Danish Blue” but the largest and most established by far is the Danish Arla cheese company and its so-called House of Castello Rosenborg. Castello (Arla) actually makes several blue cheeses, but their big player is Danish Blue Cheese. Chances are you have already tasted this cheese, it’s that blue on the cheese plate at all those art gallery openings you attend. This little darling can be purchased just about anywhere in Canada and is truly the most ubiquitous blue on our shores-despite being Danish.
Castello has been making cheese in Denmark since 1893, when Rasmus Tholstrup, decided to dedicate his life to cheese making-and who can blame him for that! His son Henrik, grew up to share his passion for cheese, a clear sign of good parenting. Henrik Tholstrup took the family dairy from a small producer to a big player on the cheese scene. In 1958 Henrik bought several dairies in Denmark and production skyrocketed. Castello was acquired by Danish cheese giant Arla in 2006, and is now the biggest maker of imported blue cheese in North America. Go Denmark! The name Rosenborg actually has nothing to do with the cheese. It refers to the Royal Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, built in the 17th century by King Christian IV. A picture of this castle is on the label for the cheese, but alas, this cheese did not spend any time in the castle, or its dungeons, it’s just a pretty picture. Sigh. Castello-Rosenborg Danish Blue Cheese is really a big player in Blue cheese scene, have I mentioned this? It is the winner of 33 International cheese awards. That’s right, 33.
So why in the world is the top selling Blue cheese in North America from Denmark and not from France, the home of Blue cheese? Good question. In the 1920s, a Dane named Marius Boel discovered an innovation to improve the taste of classic French sheep’s milk blue cheese Roquefort, by substituting cow milk for sheep’s milk. The result was a creamier, richer, and fuller flavored cheese- Danish Blue, basically a Roquefort made from cow’s milk. It’s also easier to make, cows produce a lot more milk than sheep do. Danish Blue cheese was first manufactured in 1927. This blue cheese is inoculated with Penicillum Roqueforti, and is made from whole pasteurized cow’s milk. the Blue culture is added right into the cheese milk. Like other blues the culture requires a lot of oxygen to develop correctly, thus the cheeses are pierced with stainless steel needles, which leave a large number of air ducts.When you cut open this cheese you can see the blue lines running through the paste where it was pierced. The culture develops from the inside towards the surface of the cheese. After approximately one month, the cheese is ripe and ready to go.
My Danish Blue Castello Rosenborg came in a sealed plastic triangle container. It’s a very white cheese shot through with blue lines as well as little blue clusters in the interior paste where the mould developed on its own. There is no discernible rind to my eyes. The cheese is piquant in odour and smells somewhat of vomit. Now, don’t be upset by that, as I have discussed in a previous post this cheese does contain the same enzyme as vomit so the similarity is no coincidence. I am reminded that shepherds used to pack infected wounds with Roquefort as the penicillium mould actually works to prevent infection. I just think that’s such a helpful fact, I am repeating it here, in case the apocalypse occurs and you haven’t stocked up on penicillium but you do have some Roquefort of Danish Blue around. I digress.
Mmmmm. Damn, this really is a good cheese. Maybe it’s because it’s so familiar, it really is “that blue” that you have had a million times on a million cheese plates. It’s really creamy and a perfect balance of salt, umami, vomit and sweet. It’s raunchy and sexy and I like that in a cheese! The paste is even throughout, as there is no rind you just eat it all. I would like to smear this cheese on something, but as I am forbidden grains on this cleanse I will pass. OK, this cheese rocks, it’s also available almost everywhere and relatively cheap, so go for it, it’s a great starter blue and to my taste buds, an improvement over the original Roquefort which I just couldn’t get behind.