Bleu d’Auvergne is a blue-veined cow’s milk cheese from Central and Southern France. It has a semi-soft paste and a bloomy natural rind with areasonably sharp blue flavour which contrasts beautifully with its creamy texture. The paste melts wonderfully in the mouth leaving an impression of smoothness and a slightly longer blue finish. Good Bleu d’Auvergne is about as strong as Stilton in equivalent condition. Bleu ‘d’Auvergne is wonderful in soufflés, or try it in a salad with pears and walnuts. Our Bleu d’Auvergne comes from the marvelous fromageries Morin Pere et Fils, from Aurillac.
Perhaps uniquely among the French AOC cheeses, the development of Bleu d’Auvergne may be traced back to a single individual, Monsieur Antoine Roussel. Roussel was a cheesemaker from the small town of Laqueille, west of Clermont-Ferrand. Upon his father’s death Antoine, as the eldest son, was forced to take over the day-to-day running of the family farm. The Roussels made a simple fourme-type cheese, the sale of which supplemented the meager income they derived from farming. One day Antoine noticed that some of the cheeses had developed a natural blue veining. He was struck by how dramatically the blue mould improved the flavour of his product and decided that he would endeavor to encourage the growth of the mould in his cheese. After much fruitless experimentation with various aspects of production, he noticed that the rye loaves he kept near his cheeses were also turning blue. He hit upon the idea of using the mould on the rye loaves as a means of getting the blue moulds from the atmosphere into his cheese. By 1854 Roussel had a run-away success on his hands. As demand increased the price of Roussel’s cheese soared, and the family simply couldn’t produce enough. Neighbours were quick to get in on the act and production soon spread throughout the region. Roussel’s cheese received the ultimate accolade in 1973 when Bleu d’Auvergne was awarded the AOC.