Gorgonzola Vs. Blue Cheese
Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese that originated in Italy. The characteristic blue streaks in all varieties of blue cheese are actually mold running through that gives the cheese a unique, pungent taste. In Italy, blue cheeses in general and Gorgonzola in particular are commonly used in risotto, pasta or polenta dishes; in the United States, blue cheese including Gorgonzola is typically crumbled into salads or served as a side with Buffalo chicken wings. It is also often served melted over steaks.
Blue cheese was created by accident. Centuries ago cheeses were left to age in damp caves to improve their flavor. Some cheeses molded in this environment, but instead of tasting bad, the cheese's flavor was actually enhanced. Soon people were creating moldy cheese intentionally by aging them in caves until they molded or injecting them with mold spores to produce blue cheese.
French and British Varieties
There are many different types of blue cheese, ranging from mild to pungent. Montbriac is a French variety made of cow's milk with a texture similar to Brie. Roquefort, another French blue cheese, is made of sheep's milk and is considered one of the best varieties. Stilton is a fine British blue cheese with a mild taste and firm texture that goes well with pears. (The rind on Stilton, however, should not be consumed.)
Spanish, American and Danish Varieties
Spanish Picon, a pungent crumbly variety, comes wrapped in maple leaves. American Maytag blue is similar to Picon in flavor and texture. The Danish cheese called Saga blue is rich, soft and creamy. According to the Cook's Thesaurus website, "It's mild enough to be served to unadventurous guests, yet pungent enough to be interesting."
Gorgonzola is named after the Italian town that first created it. It is pale yellow in color with streaks of blue-green running through it. Varieties produced in Italy are often creamier and milder than those produced in the United States. Two popular varieties include Gorgonzola dolce and Gorgonzola naturale. Dolce is mild and aged for a shorter time, giving it a sweet taste. Naturale is aged for at least six months, creating a sharp, strong and pungent flavor. The Cook's Thesaurus website suggests serving Gorgonzola at room temperature for best flavor. You should always use Gorgonzola within a few days after buying it. It can be frozen but the texture may become more crumbly when thawed, which is perfect for serving over salads. Roquefort or Stilton are good substitutes for Gorgonzola.
Certain blue cheeses are suited for specific foods. Stilton, Roquefort and Gorgonzola are best for salad dressings. Maytag blue, Danish blue and Gorgonzola pair well with pastas. For melting over meats, try Cabrales, Picon or Gorgonzola.
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