In France, they call Roquefort the "king of all cheeses". Roquefort is the most popular and well liked blue cheese by the French, but also worldwide. A curious fact is that countries like Australia and New Zealand have banned the delicacy because it does not meet their standards. However Roquefort cheese continues to be celebrated as the king of all cheeses.
Roquefort is produced from unpasteurized sheep's milk and has perhaps the most interesting technological process of production. Caves that are home to Roquefort cheese are at the foot of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, located between Marseille and Bordeaux, southern France. The area around Montpellier has centuries of sheep herding history and it is logical that here is born the interesting technology to produce the best stinky cheese in the world.
These caves are actually cracks in the limestone rock and feature a unique microclimate. Their yearly temperature is around +9 º, and the humidity is 95%. There is also a current that carries the fungal spores from the cheese to the walls of the cave and back.
An interesting fact is that Roquefort was the first cheese in the world to get a patent. In 1925, it was the first cheese gets AOC status in France. Since 1411, a decree stating that only cheese made with this technology and matured in this region, has the right to be called Roquefort.
Of course, even if there is a patent for Roquefort, like many other cheeses and champagnes, for example, is the subject of countless copied who want to compete with the original, but rarely succeed.
To prevent imitation of Roquefort, in 1961 a law was adopted that allows the making of Roquefort in other regions of southern France. Roquefort was made in the Atlantic Pyrenees department of Corsica, where the weather is also suitable for the ripening of this aromatic delicacy but to be acclaimed as true Roquefort, its origin must be the mountain caves in the area around the eponymous village.
Legend of Roquefort
There are claims that the technology for making Roquefort was created about 2, 000 years ago, but they are perhaps a little exaggerated. However, in 1411, King Charles V who recognizes and guarantees the monopoly on making this cheese to residents of the French village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. Around the emergence of this aromatic blue cheese, there is an interesting legend.
A young shepherd was tending his flock of sheep on a hill near the village of Roquefort. Suddenly young and beautiful shepherd from a neighboring village went past him. He was so impressed, that he forgot about everything, including his breakfast of rye bread and a piece of cheese, which he left in a nearby cave.
Lulled by thoughts the beautiful girl, the young shepherd recalled his breakfast after a few days. When he returned to the cave, he found that the regular cheese has changed a lot. On it, blue-green mold appeared. As the shepherd was very hungry, he decided to try the moldy cheese, fortunately, it fascinated him with its savory taste. Thus the first ever true Roquefort cheese came to be.
Technology for production of Roquefort
Roquefort is produced in cylindrical, round discs with a diameter of 19-20 cm and a height of 8, 5-10, 5 cm from good unpasteurized sheep's milk from which the cheese is produced, they add special penicillin mold and then it is left to mature in natural limestone caves with temperature of 9 degrees. Roquefort ripens on oak shelves with good ventilation for between 4 and 9 months.
The Roquefort cake weighs about 2, 5-2, 9 kg and is covered with sticky natural ivory skin. The interior is solid, yet slightly crumbly. Ripe Roquefort has dense, creamy texture with irregularly scattered and dense blue-black veins of mold.
As for the flavor of the popular cheese, it represents an unparalleled blend of well-corresponding to light caramel sheep milk and sharp metallic scent of blue mold. Roquefort fascinates with its strong, spicy, silky, creamy and slightly salty taste with a tart finish. One of the finer details is the cutting of Roquefort.
For this purpose, we use a special device, called la roquefortaise. With this particular device, you do not distort the structure of the delicate mold inside the greasy cheese, although the same effect can be achieved with a very sharp knife.
Different producers of Roquefort have often observed differences in the color and texture of the cheese, due to minor differences in production methods. The specific surface mold on the cheese is due to the bacteria "Penicillium Roqueforti".
Some manufacturers extract this bacterium from rye bread that you make yourself. In other words, the mold is grown on bread, which stands in well-ventilated areas. The mold is sometimes inserted into the cheese with long needles.
Composition of Roquefort
If you are wondering where the specific in cheeses such as Roquefort and Camembert have, you know that this is due to the breakdown of fatty acids. This type of cheeses contain much salt and minerals like zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and protein, and vitamins A, B2, B12, D and PP.
The fat content of roquefort is at least 52% - it is quite a greasy cheese that should be consumed in moderation.
100 g of Roquefort cheese contains: about 369 calories, 21.54 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, and at least 30.64 g fats.
Culinary use of Roquefort
The most famous blue cheese in the world is a delight for the palate and senses. You can add grated Roquefort to all your favorite dishes to give them an interesting and delicious flavor.
An interesting idea is to make skewers of fresh fruit, including small pieces Roquefort. The aroma of grapes, pears and figs perfectly fits the smelly cheese. You can also put a little Roquefort into different sauces, salad dressings, and do not forget to add some nuts to complete the culinary magic.
As for drinks, Roquefort is a great combination for red wine with a full body and sweet white wines. It is often eaten with dessert wines from the Soter-France-Tokaj Hungary, etc., and more aromatic wines, like Muscat.
Dangers of Roquefort
As already mentioned, Roquefort is banned in countries such as Australia and New Zealand because its technological process of unpasteurized milk does not meet any of the standards for their cheese.
Roquefort, though one of the finest cheeses in the world, may at times be dangerous for consumption. This is most true for pregnant women because they (and only they) can become infected with listeria. Listeria is deadly in some cases, while in pregnant women, it can lead to fetal loss.