The Cheesemonger: Original Blue

I've moved my cheese! Though I loved my time at Murray's Cheese, I will now be mongering the cheese and other gourmet food items at the newly opened Cobblestone Foods on Court Street in Cobble Hill. It's in the spot Tuller Foods used to occupy, for those who visited that shop. Please stop by and say hello!

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Name: Original Blue Producer: Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. (California) Milk: Raw Cow Age: 6 months Price: $15.99-$19.99

While most cheesemakers offer a variety of cheeses, there's something to be said for producing one single cheese and doing it well. That's what the Giacomini family have been doing since fall of 2000, when they first started producing Original Blue, their signature cheese.It's one thing to talk about using milk from free-roaming, pasture fed cattle. It's another to see it in action. Surrounding lush blue veins is the glow of a deep ivory, bordering on yellow, cheese. That yellow tint is the result of high levels of beta-carotene in the milk, which comes from the grass the cows feed on.

Indeed, great cheese comes from happy cows, and, with this creamery located in Point Reyes Station, California, I guess there are some happy cows in California. One whiff and you can almost feel that salty ocean air, and you can definitely taste it. Not to say Original Blue is overly salty, but it is a definite presence, along with the sweet buttermilky twang and plush mouthfeel.

Original Blue was designed to be both a good cooking cheese and a table cheese, and to this end, it succeeds. It's crumbly enough to be used to top salads, punchy enough to produce a prominent blue cheese twang thoughout cooking, and has enough nuances to be enjoyed on its own. Personally, of the choices, I prefer to cook with it. Though there are some recipes available on the Point Reyes site, great opportunities are missed such as blue cheese quiche, and my favorite, a basic grilled cheese sandwich with blue cheese. Add to it some pears or apples and a bit of arugula and it's a gourmet sandwich in minutes.

Point Reyes Original Blue is available at most Gourmet cheese shops. Murray's Cheese has it for $19.99/lb, iGourmet has it for $15.99 and Cobblestone Foods has it for $16.00/lb.

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