All things cheese in France

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Bleu de Causses

A cheese for all seasons, Bleu de Causses was once known as the poor man’s Roquefort.  It is made in the cantons of the Aveyron Campagnac, Cornus, Millau, Peyreleau and Saint Affrique and two other communes: Tréves in the Gard and Pégairolles in Hérault,. The village of Peyrelade in the Gorges du Tarn is famous for the brand which bears it’s name. 

Originally, this cheese was made from a mixture of ewe’s, goat’s and cow’s milk, but in 1947, the governing body of the AOC required the cheese to be made strictly with cow’s milk and in a more limited area, receiving its first AOC in 1953 with further clarifications in 1979 when the collection zone for the milk and fabrication standards were decreed. It is uncooked and unpressed and generally is set out to age for 3 to 6 weeks in the natural caves of the gorges du Tarn, which are very similar to those in Roquefort, with natural "fleurines" that allow the “penicillium glaucum” to blossom and develop both the veining and the aroma. 

Summer cheeses are ivory in colour and very moist and the milk is heated to 68c to reduce development of listeria, they have a pronounced taste of summer pastures and are soft and savoury. It is truly sumptous yet subtle in texture and taste.  Those made in winter are drier and are whiter in colour, they have a stronger taste which is caused from longer aging and winter feed. Less strident than Bleu d’Auvergne which comes from further north of this region, Bleu de Causses is creamy, crumbly and milder in taste than Roquefort.  

Try it with a little salted butter on a crusty French bread.  Wines from the general region of Cahors and Madiran work well with it.  For a treat, try it with a sweet white wine from the region such as Montbazillac. 

The official website of le Bleu des Causses, AOC (in French)