Roquefort is rindless French cheese having a crumbly texture and a strong taste, which is considered among the blue cheeses and is commonly known as the “king of cheeses”. The cheese is produced from ewe milk and is aged in limestone cavities which are set up further down the village of Roquefort-sur- Soulzon. It is bright white in color with a mild shine and is mostly used in making dressings and salads. This cheese is also known asle fromage des roiset des papes meaning “the cheese of kings and popes”.
History Of Roquefort Cheese
This French cheese originated in Roquefort and was first made accidentally by a shepherd who was grazing the livestock and stored his lunch in a nearby cave, but forgot to have it. It was after a few weeks he remembered of it and went to check it in the same cave. His toast with cheese now had a bluish green mold formation on it and when he ate it he found it very tasty.
One of the other legends about this cheese states that the French king Charlemagne was offered this cheese while he was travelling through Aveyron region. The king was apprehensive about eating the mold part, but when tasted, liked it so much that he ordered this cheese to be sent to his palace every year.
The cheese got recognition with appellation d’originein 1925 and an appellation d’origine controlee since 1979 which means that the cheese has met the strict rules regarding its making. This cheese can however, under the guidelines, be made only by sheep’s milk that is found in Roquefort region and should be ripened in the damp caves located there.
Preparation Of Rochefort
The cheese is mainly produced in Aveyron region and for making it the milk of ewe is heated and poured in containers. The spores of Pennilliumroqueforti and rennet are added to the milk which makes it curd cheese. The cheese is cut into cubes, strained and seasoned with salt. The cheese is then moved to Roquefort damp caves where the ripening of cheese takes place. The naturally present cracks of the caves help in keeping a stable temperature and moisture for the entire year. The cheese is pierced well and arranged on shelves of wood and seasoned with salt and gradually after some time the blue and green molds start developing and spread from the center to the sides. Once the molds are spread, the cheese is covered in tin foil and kept in low temperature. After 10 months, the cheese is ready for packaging and is sold.
Culinary Use Of Roquefort Cheese
This French cheese is widely used as a wine accompaniment. Mostly strong wines like Sauternes, Porto, and Monbazillac are consumed with it.
The cheese tastes well when spread on French breads, burgers and toasts.
Fruits such as fig, grapes and pear are often served with this crumbled cheese.
It is also used to flavor red meats.
Baked potatoes are commonly eaten with this French cheese.
Mashed Roquefort combined with butter and celery sticks is usually consumed as snack.
This French cheese should be served at room temperature as the frozen cheese may not exhibit its true flavor.
Roquefort Cheese: Popular Recipes
Mussels with Roquefort sauce – A popular French dish containing tender and spicy moules, cheese, cream and pepper seasoning.
Roquefort dressing- A mixture of sour cream, buttermilk, mayonnaise, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, the dressing is usually served with greens or with chicken breasts.
Roquefort soup and cauliflower- A tasty soup preparation of vegetables and stock topped with crumbled cheese.
Baked garlic with Roquefort and rosemary- Melted cheese with garlic seasoned with rosemary and other herbs; usually served as appetizer with red wines.
Buying And Storing Rochefort
While buying Roquefort, the registered trademark of the foil seal with red sheep symbol should be checked. The cheese when packed looks white from outside with solid upper surface and little powdery in texture.
For storing the cheese, it should be wrapped in aluminum foil and kept in the refrigerator or in a dark, cool place in order to retain the moisture and taste.
Nutritional Values Of Roquefort Cheese
One ounce of this cheese has 100 calories, 20 % of recommended calcium and six grams of protein.
This cheese is made by only seven companies and all of them are situated in Roquefort sursoulzon village. The prime producer of this cheese is Le Roquefort Societe.