I discovered Bleu de Bresse at Starsky’s market in Mississauga.
Bleu de Bresse comes from France. It is a very mild blue cheese made from cow’s milk with a texture that is similar to brie. The rind is soft, white and edible.
This blue cheese originated in 1951 in the French Province of Bresse. The Bresse region is better known for its poultry production which boasts to produce some of the “best chickens in the world”. But we are not talking chickens here. We are talking cheese.
Bleu de Bresse is also called Bresse Bleu. It is made in the French village of Bourge-en-Bresse. The brand and trademark for Bleu de Bresse are owned by the large European cheese company Bongrain. Unlike many of the famous French cheeses, Bleu de Bresse is not an AOC designated cheese.
The mild blue cheese cheese flavor comes from Penicillium roqueforti which is introduced to the curds before they are put into perforated molds. Once the curds become set in the molds, the cheese is removed, salted, turned, drained, and covered with Penicillium camemberti to form the outer rind. The Bleu de Bresse is then aged 3 to 4 weeks.
Bleu de Bresse is quite soft and very spreadable. It is less dense and easier to spread than cream cheese.
Bleu de Bresse is slightly firm when refrigerated. As with most cheeses, take this cheese out an hour or so before serving to allow it to come to room temperature. This one is so mild you will want to enjoy all the flavor it can provide. It needs to be at room temperature to do that.
What does Bleu de Bresse taste like?
The Bleu de Bresse has a mild scent reminiscent of buttered mushrooms. Bresse bleu claims to be the creamiest of all blue cheeses. I would agree with that. However, the little veins of blue do maintain a slight texture that can be sensed and separated on the tongue.
I found the Bleu de Bresse to be less salty than a typical blue cheeses. My research uncovered a reference that claimed Bresse Bleu has 30% less salt compared to other blue-veined cheeses. My palette likes that.
Of the blue cheeses that I have tried so far, Bleu de Bresse is most similar to German Cambozola. When I first tried Cambozola I considered it to be mild. The Bleu de Bresse is an even milder blue cheese. I don’t think a blue cheese could be much milder than this and still be a blue cheese. Personally I prefer my blue cheese stronger.
My teenage daughter is not food adventurous, to say the least. She has never garnered the courage to try a “moldy” blue cheese … until today. When she saw me drafting this blog, titled “Blue Cheese for Beginners”, she agreed to try a little on a table water cracker. After staring at the cracker for a few minutes and then smelling it, she took a small bite, then another, and another. I was pleasantly surprised when she admitted “It was better than I thought it would be.”
Bleu de Bresse may be the ultimate mild blue cheese. This is definitely the blue cheese of choice for a beginner or unadventurous guests. I am glad to have discovered it because it is a great cheese to add to my arsenal of cheese options. It will be my blue cheese “secret weapon” for my next timid blue cheese tasting guest.