Cheese, blue
Why Eat It
Nutrition Chart

Why Eat It

Mold is usually considered an unwelcome intruder in our food, but blue cheese is a notable exception: Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton--the great blues of France, Italy, and England respectively--are referred to as the "Kings of Cheese." There are good blue cheeses made in Denmark, Germany, and the United States, but these three are the most popular worldwide.

The discovery of the delicious flavor of mold-ripened cheese, like the discovery of wild yeast as a dough leavener, was undoubtedly accidental; however, cheesemakers have learned how to carefully preserve the particular molds that give the best flavor. Blue cheeses are inoculated with these molds (which are related to penicillin) by different methods, and then allowed to ripen in a controlled atmosphere until they are streaked with bluish-green veins and develop some of the finest flavors in the cheese world. The flavors are relatively mild in young blues, then intensify as the cheeses age.

Although blue cheeses get about 74% of their calories from fat, they are so intensely savory you need use only a small amount. They go particularly well with low-fat foods such as fruits or salads. The sodium content of these cheeses ranges from about 400 to 500 milligrams per ounce, however.


Roquefort: One of the world's greatest cheeses, Roquefort is a blue-veined cheese made in southern France. It is aged in limestone caves, as it has been since the fifteenth century. The cheese, which is made in six-pound forms, is firm and white with blue-green veins and has a very high sodium content.

Gorgonzola: The most famous Italian blue cheese, Gorgonzola has veins that are more green than blue. The body of the cheese is white, with a thin, edible rind. Made in 13-pound wheels, Gorgonzola is sold in full and partial wheels and wedges.

Stilton: England's contribution to the blue cheese tray is milder than its famous French and Italian cousins. Stilton has a smooth, hard, brown rind and a creamy yellow interior with an even pattern of blue veins. It is made in 18-pound cylinders that are sold in sections, and in five-pound forms to sell whole.

Nutrition Chart

Roquefort/1 ounce

Total fat (g)
Saturated fat (g)
Monounsaturated fat (g)
Polyunsaturated fat (g)
Dietary fiber (g)
Carbohydrate (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Calcium (mg)

Date Published: 04/20/2005
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