I’ve never been a big fan of blue cheese, possibly because blue cheese dressing in sports bars and wings-to-go shops has been mangling its reputation for years. Blue cheese is rich and flavorful alone, so why mix it with mayonnaise or french dressing and pour it over wings in hot sauce? Not clever.
When in Rome, or when in France, I figure it’s best to put food prejudices aside and dive into the blue cheese section at the fromager. I got a really pleasant surprise this time around.
Bresse Bleu, cows cheese.
Made by: Unknown. Unmarked.
Hails from: This cheese originates from Bresse, in the middle/north of Eastern France between Dijon and Besançon. Not to be confused with La Bressse, which is in Lorraine and will hopefully be hosting me on skis in January.
Background: This cheese is like no blue cheese I’ve ever tasted. The texture is nearly like brie, instead of the crumbly, cakey marble of Roquefort or Stilton. Bresse Bleu has been made in the Bresse area since World War II, so this is no ancient, monk-made secret recipe. Still great!
Can I eat the rind? yes!
Serve it: on salads, in pasta, or if you’re brave, make the regional treat that is just perfect for Bresse bleu: Bressiflette. Made with the cheese, potatoes, chicken, smoked bacon, onion, garlic, butter and cream, this kind of nonsense recipe is exactly what got me into an argument about the virtues (or lack thereof) of typical French cuisine last night. Americans aren’t the only ones who know how to destroy a good cheese.