It’s a question that a lot of cheese lovers will hear: why do we eat moldy cheese?
There are some molds that are safe to eat. These are used to make cheeses such as Brie, Blue Cheese, and Camembert.
For Blue Cheese, Penicillium cultures added creating dark blue or blue-grey veins throughout the cheese. These are safe to eat because they do not produce the toxins that could be harmful to us.
The way that Blue Cheese is aged creates a level of acidity, salinity, moisture, density, temperature, and oxygen flow that cannot create dangerous molds.
In fact, our bodies can use the variety of different properties found in blue cheese to contribute to our healthy digestion.
Blue molds cause a breakdown of proteins in cheese known as proteolysis which creates a very creamy taste and texture. It also breaks down the fats, known as lipolysis, which gives blue cheese the tangy, sharp flavors that people love.
One of the reasons that people love moldy cheese is because these cheese often contain much more salt than other cheeses. Combined with the blue veins and whole milk, this creates a flavor that makes you want to eat more and more.
Blue cheese was discovered almost by accident. Cheeses in Europe were aged in high moisture caves which are also ideal environments to produce mold. Gorgonzola dates back to around 879 AD and Roquefort was invented in 1070. Today, all Roquefort eaten around the world is still made in the small French village where it was invented.
If you love rich, tannic red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir then you are likely to enjoy moldy cheese with it as you like strong flavors. Sometimes, we develop a stronger love for blue cheeses as we age because our taste buds reduce in strength. This means that flavors that we might not have enjoyed in childhood or younger years can become some of our favorite foods. People will often experience this with other strong flavored foods such as olives.
If you are looking to try more blue cheese, enjoy it with crackers or melted into dishes, to begin with. You’ll be able to build up to eating more of it over time. It’s also delicious with Port and Scotch if you are having a cheeseboard after dinner.
So, next time you are asked why you eat moldy cheese, or whether it’s safe to eat, you’ll know how to answer!
Do you like to eat moldy cheese? Let us know how you like to eat it in the comments!