A New Blue from Point Reyes
It’s been some time since I’ve caught you up with the Blue Cheese Brit. You’ve met him on this blog before — he’s a silver fox with a nose for blues. His Scottish heritage makes him decidedly Stilton-centric, though he’s got a weakness for Cremificato Verde Capra.
When I need a second opinion — or a stiff gin’n tonic — I like to call on the BCB, you see. And so, for his recent birthday, I chose a stumper. I created a cheese board with a blue cheese I knew he had not yet tasted. Then I watched his lips to see if they would curl or creep up into a devilish smile.
Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. makes a salty blue bomb that I yearn for — it’s clean and oceanic in its brightness. The Brit favors more leather in his blues, more lust? When I heard that Point Reyes creamery, in California, was introducing a new blue to the market (and that it offered more Stilton-esque tones) I performed a wild jig at the store. Would this not be the perfect birthday blue?
A Word on Blues
What do I mean by Stiltonesque tones? Let’s put on some lute music. A proper British Stilton has warm notes — think of pipe tobacco, cherry leather, dusty tapestries, yellowish books. A good Stilton, in short, tastes like a library. There’s a sweetness, a crumble, a note of comfort.
Other parts of the globe make blue cheeses that have brighter tones — Roquefort, for example, is more like an expensive seaside condo than a library — picture lots of glass and modern banquettes. It’s cooling and salty, razor-edged in its sharpness. The foiled rind keeps it pristine and creamy. It would never crumble. You would never lean back, after tasting it, and think of lutes or pipes. Chimes, perhaps? Or, surf music?
Point Reyes Bay Blue
Point Reyes Bay Blue fits the Stilton profile because it is more sweet than salty. The taste calls to mind brown butter, caramel, husked walnuts. When you eat it, you want to put on corduroy slippers and smoke a Viceroy. It’s a California Stilton, though, let’s keep that in mind — so it’s more beachy and less library-rific.
Point Reyes creamery also makes Original Blue, which has more salt on the front end. Its rich texture is supple — much more in line with a Roquefort.
If you want to have loads of fun, pick up both Point Reyes blues — the Original and the Bay. Then do a side-by-side sampler.Turn out the lights. Spin the cheese board. Then, see if you can detect which one embodies “warm library with lutes” and which is “cool condo” with razor riffs.
Serving Bay Blue
Like most Stiltons, Bay Blue loves chocolate. Here’s what I recommend for a Bay Blue board:
- Point Reyes Bay Blue, served at room temperature (of course)
- Dark chocolate, like Mast Brothers Vanilla & Smoke bar
- Cotton Candy Grapes, to refresh the palate
- A Scotch flight, accompanied by good friends, love notes, and lyrical toasts