I wanted to profile one of my favorite fall cheeses this week. Because it's just so fall-y.
Rogue Creamery's superlative Smokey Blue is precisely that: smokey and blue. And so apropos for this time of year.
Rogue Creamery, in Central Point, Oregon, makes some of the country's most adored blues. It's like their specialty. The creamery's most coveted accolade is a World's Best Blue Cheese award at the 2003 World Cheese Awards in London, a first for a U.S. creamery. Since then, they've continued to win medals worldwide that legitimize their tasty wheels.
Smokey Blue is a first, too. According to Rogue, it's the first smoked blue in the world. And as far as I know, the only one, though perhaps other cheesemakers are following suit. While I'm not generally a fan of smoked cheese, I make major exception for Rogue's. It's more than worth checking out.
Perhaps what makes the cheese so convincing is the quality of the milk—great Oregonian raw cow milk, super rich and full of flavor— or maybe it's the subtle smoking process— not over-done at all. They cold-smoke the cheese for 16 hours over Oregon hazelnut shells for a flavor that Rogue describes as candied bacon. Indeed, it's nearly sweet, that smokey-creamy-roasty-toasty quality to each bite. And there's something really special about how the salt balances with the smokey flavor. There's almost a honey-like finish.
Gorgeous blue-green veining dapple the paste of the cheese. Its semi-soft texture is nearly curd-like, and very smooth, with just a bit of crystallization from the blue mold. With port, sherry, or a dark, roasty beer, it's a pretty solid way to celebrate fall.
Find it: Smokey Blue Cheese at Rogue Creamery
(Image: Murray's Cheese)