Join Club

Your Cheesemonger: Blue Cheese

Your Cheesemonger logo

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Katie Carter, cheesemonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)

The story of blue cheese is the story of the balance between great milk and the blue penicillium mold, our attempts to control the two, and the pleasure we experience when it’s done right. A happy accident led to the discovery of this special category of cheeses.

RoquefortThe tale goes that a young shepherd left his lunch of bread and cheese near the natural caves of Cambalou in the Roquefort-sur-Soulzon region of France. When he returned to fetch his food a few days later, he discovered his cheese had grown mold. Not wanting to waste his food, the shepherd ate the moldy cheese, which turned out to be delicious! By leaving his cheese to grow mold (penicillium roqueforti) native to that very particular cave, this shepherd inadvertently created the very first Roquefort cheese.

Today, almost all of the blue cheese produced around the world are made using the cultivated mold from these special caves. It is usually added to the milk in liquid form before coagulation but some cheesemakers still use a powdered version. The blue-green mold needs air to grow, so most blues are either pierced with needles or have a very open texture (air pockets) where the mold forms. Willi Schmid is the only producer I know of that creates an intentional pattern by splitting the cheese with a knife a few weeks after production.

The best blues are not overpowered by the flavor of the mold. The cheese and mold should harmonize and work together to create a unique, yet balanced, experience. Blues are naturally stronger in flavor than most other cheeses but not all blues are intense. They can range from very buttery with a slight spice to incredibly bold and acidic. Queso Cabrales is the strongest blue I have come across. Some people love it; I find it way too strong to eat on its own.


StiltonDating back to the 18th century, Stilton is England’s most famous blue cheese. It was described in the early 1720’s by author Daniel Defoe as, “English Parmesan, and is brought to the table with the mites or maggots round it so thick that they bring a spoon with them for you to eat the mites with, as you do the cheese.” Fortunately, maggots are no longer present in the blue cheese and is enjoyed instead with a glass of port. Though it is a classic winter cheese, Stilton can be enjoyed throughout the year. Made today only with pasteurized cow’s milk, it is buttery and rich while the blue veining adds a pleasant acidity. Look for Stilton made by the Colston Bassett creamery, the best and oldest Stilton producer.


This very famous cheese was the first French cheese to gain AOC status and is only made by seven producers today. Made with raw sheep’s milk, this cheese can only be made in the region of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in France and must be aged in the natural Cambalou caves. This semi soft cheese has a very white paste with an open texture that allows the greenish blue mold to grow within. The flavor is distinctly strong and powerful with a peppery bite and salty finish. This is the most elegant of all blue cheese and is best enjoyed with a sweet white wine, such as Sauternes.

Buffalo BlueBuffalo Blue

The milk of only four water buffalo is used to create this amazing Swiss blue. Though these huge beasts look fierce and rugged, their milk is rich, sweet, and gentle. It makes the perfect backdrop to the sharp blue mold that marbles the interior and acts as a rind. This very rare cheese is quite special, give it a try if you ever come across it.

Monte Enebro

This unique Spanish blue, made with pasteurized goat’s milk, has a dense and thick paste. It is neither pierced nor does it have an open texture so the penicillium roqueforti grows only on the exterior of the cheese. The cheese has fun and bright flavors and can often taste tropical. Always taste before you buy this cheese, its window of perfection is small.

Katie Carter is Arlington’s first and only ACS Certified Cheese Professional. She has worked in the cheese industry for ten years as a cheesemaker, cheesemonger, and educator. She can be found on Twitter @AfinaCheeseThe views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Recent Stories

While last week‘s landmark zoning decision legalized 2-6 unit homes throughout Arlington’s lowest-density neighborhoods, about 136 properties will be ineligible for such projects. The exemption applies to certain 5,000-6,000 square-foot…

The “Markers Market” is coming back to Pentagon City, planned for the first Sunday of every month starting this weekend. The market featuring local artists, creators, food, and music is…

Police are investigating the death of a man found in a vehicle on a quiet residential street near Marymount University. Police say the man’s death “does not appear to be…

This regularly scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Video summaries of some articles can…

Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3­-7.

Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.

Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.

Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.

The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.

Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.

“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

WHS Spring Festival

Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!

Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and

District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference

District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve


Subscribe to our mailing list