Few cheeses inspire such polar opinions as blue cheese. For every person who drools at the sight of Penicillium Roqueforti, any cheese that has the merest wisp of blue mold revolts another.
I am of the former group. The sight of a new blue at the cheese counter gets me giddy with anticipation. This excitement is heightened if it's from Jasper Hill Farm, the small family-run dairy farm in Vermont that produces the excellent Bayley Hazen Blue as well as the mild and lush Constant Bliss.
Bartlett Blue has a rough natural-rind encases an ivory interior with vibrant veins of blue throughout. The texture is crumbly and dry, making it excellent for salad. In addition, for those looking for a tasty alternative to your typical grilled cheese sandwich, it's also great melter.
Bartlett Blue's flavor is similar to Stilton, but more well rounded. Though it retains the fruitiness of Stilton, the acidic spike is toned down, yielding a milder, sweeter cheese with a bit of cheddar-like caramel flavors.
As with a Stilton, Bartlett Blue could easily pair with either a nice tawny port. A pint of English or Irish stout would also be excellent. In particular, the Mackeson Triple Stout, with its chocolate and coffee flavor, would make an awesome pairing.
Bartlett Blue is available for $18.99/lb at Murray's Cheese.
- The Cheese Monger