Sunday Blues Presented by ACS CCP® Sheri Allen:
Sunday Blue Cheese of the day is BLEU DE GEX
Cheese has for centuries played an important role in Catholic monastic life, and has had a profound influence on the development of a diverse array of cheeses among which is Bleu de Gex.
Made in the mountains of the JURA region of France, whose name became the root of the word Jurassic since rocks from this region were the first to be studied by scientists for clues to life during the Jurassic period. Nowadays the region is best known for Comté cheese.
There are only four producers of Bleu de Gex (also called Bleu de Haut-Jura) in France; two are artisanal and two are industrial. All the milk is fresh and raw, from cows that have been milked at nearby farms in the mountains that surround the cheese making facilities. In fact, it’s still warm and steaming when the farmers bring the milk to the fruitières early in the morning, where it’s to be made into cheese.
The first step is the caillage, when the culture is added to break the warmed milk up into soft, creamy curds. Mold spores are also introduced into the cheese, which give the finished wedges their characteristic blue veins.
Once the milk has formed curds, they’re separated from the cloudy whey and the curds are heaped into cloth-lined round bins. As the curds start settling in to the characteristic round shape of a wheel of cheese, they are flipped a few times to get as much of the liquid out as possible, and to compact the curds. Once lightly pressed, the moist rounds are removed from their swaddling then the surface is salted and the cheeses are left in ripening caves for about three weeks. At the beginning of the ripening, the rounds are pierced with metal needles to facilitate the mold to grow correctly and create the blue veining.
Each wheel of Bleu de Gex is stamped “Gex” because it’s a protected name, with an AOP designation, which ensures that the milk used is from the region and the cheese is produced according to standards.
NOTE: I’ve read AOC 1977 and 1986 in two different references. Of the French AOC Blue cheeses, Bleu de Gex is one of the most unique from a technical point of view as well as sensory perspective. In contrast to other blues, the cheese has a low acidity with dominant enzymatic character, the paste is dense and creamy with a pale ivory color and a marbling of very dark greenish-blue veins. The aroma and flavor are relatively mild with bitter notes.
Milk: Unpasteurized Montbeliard Cow (AOC regulations)
Affinage: 2-3 months
Culture Magazine: https://culturecheesemag.com/cheese-l…/bleu-de-gex-haut-jura
Page 37 World Cheese Book Juliet Harbutt
Pages: 72, 73; 76, 486 Oxford Companion to Cheese
We will be announcing our four (4) 2017 ACS CCP Exam® and Conference Scholarship Winners this afternoon at 3pm ET!! Thanks to the generosity of the cheese community, we will be sending 2 candidates to sit for the exam and attend the conference and 2 currrent ACS CCPs® will be attending the ACS Denver conference. Our scholarships are covering hotel, airfare, conference fees, exam fees (for 2 candidates) and a stipend to use while at the conference!! I never cease to be amazed and humbled by the generosity of others!!!