Cheese of the Week: Point Reyes’ Bay Blue
Cheese of The Week is a weekly feature on The Daily Meal, drawing on the expertise of internationally renowned cheese expert and consultant Raymond Hook. What follows is based on an interview with Hook.
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Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. has been operated by the Giacomini family for the past 50 years. Located in Point Reyes, Calif., the entire cheesemaking operation is overseen by the family, and because it’s all under one roof, the cows are milked right next door to where the cheese is made. The milk is still warm when it’s pasteurized and turned into cheese, less than an hour after milking. They make a handful of cheeses, including original blue, mozzarella, and Toma, but the Bay Blue is arguably the finest.
The newest addition to the product line, Bay Blue, which is similar to Stilton, is a rustic blue cheese that’s sweet, mellow, and rich with caramel notes. It has a natural rind and is aged 90 days. It’s mild, earthy, fudgy, peppery without being overpowering, and has "a good balance between salt, milkiness, and blue cheese flavor, with a great aroma," according to Hook.
Bay Blue is incredibly versatile. Hook recommends adding it to sandwiches or letting it melt crumbled atop a steak, and it’s also great in salads, melted into mushroom pasta or risotto, or as the centerpiece of a cheese plate, accompanied by honey, figs, berries, and hazelnuts and warm, crusty bread. As a wine pairing, Hook suggests a high-alcohol fortified wine like madeira, port, or sherry, or full-bodied wines like syrah and cabernet sauvignon.