Blue cheese often gets a bad wrap — you know, the whole moldy thing — yet there can be more to blue cheese then just a sharp moldy flavor that is characteristic of many American-style blue cheeses.
A good example of this is Dunbarton Blue from Roelli Cheese in Shullsburg, Wisc. The Roelli family has been making cheese in Wisconsin for almost 100 years, but have not been known for small batch artisanal cheese making until recently.
Now the fourth generation of Roelli family cheese makers have found a niche in making small-batch handmade cheese.
Dunbarton Blue is different because it is a young cheddar that is pierced to allow oxygen in to spur the growth of blue mold. Since the cheese is pressed the blue mold does not have very many places to grow inside the cheese.
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Traditionally blue cheese is not pressed, allowing an open textured cheese perfect for blue mold to grow. The mold that does grow in the holes poked in Dunbarton Blue stays in the channel created by the stainless steal needles.
The cheeses are aged for nearly 4 months in the aging cellars at Roelli on wood boards. The beautiful natural rind on Dunbarton has an interesting look. The outlines of where the curds have been pressed together can be seen on the surface of the cheese.
All of this creates a relatively mild blue cheese. It has a mild punch but earthy flavors are more forward and the finish is more like cheddar then a blue. Its meaty and mushroomy flavors are heavy, but the balance of flavors keeps it from being overwhelming.
One of my favorite pairings with Dunbarton is Prairie Thyme’s Roasted Tomato Chutney. Prairie Thyme started locally in Kansas City but transferred its operation to Durango, Colo., several years ago.
This not too sweet and tangy condiment just works with Dunbarton. Whether you just pour it over the cheese or put them on a burger or grilled cheese the combination does not disappoint.
Bottom line, if you are afraid of blue cheese Dunbarton Blue, may be the cure for your blue cheese anxiety.
Lincoln Broadbooks loves cheese. He is one of the first cheesemongers in the United States and Canada to become an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional. He is the manager and buyer for The Better Cheddar in Prairie Village. You can find him on Twitter @LincolnBbooks and on Instagram @lincycheese.