Friday, January 21, 2011

Fromage Friday: Rouge Creamery Smokey Blue Cheese

The Rouge Creamery has a long history among American cheese makers. The creamery started in Sonoma and moved to a large scale production in Oregon during World War II in close conjunction with J.L. Kraft. After the war they began focusing on smaller artisan style cheeses. The Rouge Creamery "Oregon Blue" was the first blue cheese produced on the west coast. The Smokey Blue I am reviewing today was subsequently the first blue cheese smoked on the west coast.

I love a sharp bite blue Stilton and have found it to be a utilitarian cheese in the right hands. I have used in dishes as varied as melted a top rib-eyed steak or burger, in poultry stuffing, or in a sauce on top of a fish dish. I am planning on using it in ice cream to go with a pear tart this summer, or if I get around to it later this month. The Smokey Blue Cheese is not nearly as sharp as most Stiltons. The flavor is mild and builds to a bite  towards the end of the taste. The smoke adds several levels of nutty flavor that aid in mellowing the normally sharp flavors of blue cheese. It has a distinct notes of almond and some mild fresh grass flavors. Their is a sweetness to the cheese coming in large part from the cold smoke process involving hazelnut shells.

Rouge Creamery Smokey Blue
Oregon, USA
Cow's Milk
The cheese is great for people who may not usually like a blue cheese because of its sharp flavors or those looking for a sweeter blue cheese to offer as a dessert course. I paired it with Honey Crisp Apples (two weeks in a row now I have done that) and fresh blueberries. It would go well with strawberries, apricots or bell peppers. A wine paring would be a milder more dry Riesling like the Eroica  Columbia Valley, Washington or Sangiovese like the Antinori Toscana Rosa Tuscany, Italy.

1 comment:

  1. Ok - I took a lot of flack last summer when I churned up my avocado ice cream. I thought it was fantastic - not only the flavor, but the texture. But I was very surprised at the number of naysayers out there. There seems to be a lack of adventure for people and their ice cream.

    With that, I'm even taken aback a little to read that you plan to churn up a batch of Smokey Blue Cheese ice cream. That makes my avocado adventure seem tame at best! I'm very interested to read about how it turns out, you may be on to something.