Thursday, May 4, 2017

1924 Bleu

Herve Mons has stepped back into the limelight as the affineur of the stellar 1924 Bleu, a blue cheese that's made with equal parts sheep and cow milk, but the true hero here is Francois Kerautret, the cheese marketer who created this charming treasure. He transitioned into a cheesemaker when he had the idea to take Roquefort back to its roots before it received the first ever appellation d'origine of any cheese in 1925 that required cheesemakers to use only sheep's milk and to make and age Roquefort using specific guidelines. Kerautret wanted to go back to using a mixture of milk instead of purely sheep's milk for his version of blue cheese. After a few years of urging, Kerautret persuaded Mons to work with him on a prototype, and, not long after, 1924 Bleu was born. If Roquefort is the bold king and Bleu D'Auvergne is the calmer prince, then 1924 Bleu is the beautiful and lively duchess in the royal blue cheese family.

1924 Bleu
1924 Bleu is rich and creamy.
1924 Bleu Herve Mons
There are a lot of blue-green veins in this cheese.

Aged in Herve Mons' caves near Roanne, almost 400 miles from Roquefort, 1924 Bleu develops a natural rind that has a nice aroma of the country. The aging process continues when the wheels are sent to the United States, and they end up being about four or five months old once the consumer digs into the wonderful, extra creamy interior. The rind adds to the overall woody, earthy, mushrooomy flavor, but the first thing you will notice is a quick burst of salt and a spicy tang that evens out quickly. Notes of straw and a sweet, nutty taste that pairs well with the traditional mold of blue cheeses follow. The longer the cheese ages, the more hints of ammonia emerge, but even when this little blue is past its prime, it's still tasty. But, oh, that rich creaminess! That's what will stick with you. I do suggest that you eat this while it's younger, but if you're not afraid to take a walk on the wild side, go ahead and let it age.

As I often suggest, a nice crusty French bread goes well with 1924 Bleu. Try it with some wildflower honey or on a spinach salad. You can use it in a stuffed chicken or in stuffed mushroom caps, and it also adds flavor to any cheese dip recipe.

I served this blue with Two Rivers Vintner's Blend, but it's an elegant cheese that will pair well with many wines including Arneis, Muscat, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gamay, Zinfandel, Chenin Blanc, Sauternes or even a sherry or, for you beer fans, a porter or stout.

Vintner's Blend
Two Rivers Vintner's Blend pairs well with this cheese.

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