I found Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese at the C’est Cheese Please store in Cambridge (Ontario, Canada). The Point Reyes name was familar as I remember it being mentioned in articles and blogs that I have read in the past. I was excited to find it.
Point Reyes Original Blue is produced by the Giacomini family, the owners of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company in Point Reyes California (USA).
What exactly is “Farmstead” Cheese? Farmstead means “from the farm” and describes a cheese making process that begins with the cows on the farm and ends with the cheese. This is in contrast to a farm selling milk to a dairy to make cheese, or milk from several farms being mixed to make a cheese. Farmstead really means control. The cheese maker has significant control over many of the variables that can affect the finished product. It makes the cheese unique.
“The milk from our own cows on our dairy farm is what is used to make our cheese unique. Original Blue™ cannot be duplicated, even 5 miles away.”
– Lynn Giacomini Stray
Point Reyes Original Blue cheese is made from Grade A raw milk from a closed herd of Holstein cows on their 700 acre farm. The cows graze on certified organic, green pastured hills overlooking Tomales Bay. The cheese maker claims that the secret to their cheese is the milk, the coastal fog and the salty Pacific breeze. Sounds romantic doesn’t it?
The cheese is very good and I have to give them hat’s off to their marketing effort. They have successfully tied the mystic and romance of their farm location to the cheese enjoyment experience. That works for me, after all, much of the pleasure of enjoying a good cheese is appreciating the story behind it.
Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese takes 21 days of handling and then three to four months of aging in the company’s barns, on the farm. The breezy moist air blowing off of the Pacific is conducive to the growing of the blue cheese mold that imparts much of the flavour to this cheese.
What does Point Reyes Original Blue cheese taste like? I considered this blue cheese most similar to Rosenborg Castello Danish Blue Cheese that I have tried and previously reviewed. The Point Reyes is creamier and has a little more depth of flavour. It is a medium strong blue with tanginess and mild bite on the finish. It is milky, grassy and complex. Other reviews have mentioned the taste of the Pacific ocean held in the cheese. I think that’s a bit of a stretch. It’s salty, but not ocean salty.
Point Reyes Original Blue is a high quality blue cheese but you have to already like blue cheese to really enjoy it. I tried it on a Carr’s Table Water Cracker but I preferred this on on it’s own. I used it to accent a dinner salad dressed with balsamic vinegar. The Point Reyes Original Blue stood out and held its own as opposed to disappearing into the blend. It provided little moments of wow enhancing an average salad to a standout.
If you are fan of blue cheese I would suggest giving this one a try.