I’d often heard Gorgonzola mentioned but blue cheese mentioned more often. They looked the same and tasted similar when I ordered them on items at restaurants. For a long time, I was confused about the various blue cheeses.
It turns out that Gorgonzola is just one of many types of blue cheese. The main difference between the different types of blue cheese in the region or country that they are made in or what type of milk is used to make the cheese.
Generally, they all use penicillium bacteria in the manufacturing process. This bacteria which is harmless to humans is what gives all of the blue cheeses their distinctive flavor and blue veining. For pairing with wine, blue cheese needs a sweeter bold wine to match up well with the strong salty and savory blue cheese flavor.
Port and sherry are great choices. It’s difficult to compare the flavor of Gorgonzola to Roquefort since the variations of blue cheeses have variations themselves and can usually range from strong to mild within a single variation.
Continue reading to learn more about the various popular types of blue cheese.
Gorgonzola is an northern Italian cheese that is mostly made in the Peidmont and Lombardy regions of Italy. It is one of the oldest blue cheeses and is believed to have been accidentally discovered around 879 AD. Interestingly it did not gain it’s signature blue green veins until the eleventh century. Gorgonzola can range from mild to very strong in flavor depending on how it has been aged.
Roquefort cheese comes from the south of France, specifically from the caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon and is made strictly from Lacaune sheep’s milk. Also one of the older blue cheeses, Roquefort has a unique origin story although it can’t be verified. It’s believed that it was discovered when a kid left his lunch he was eating in a cave to chase after a beautiful girl. When he returned a month later the normal cheese of his meal had been transformed into Roquefort blue cheese.
Stilton is an English blue cheese that is known for its stronger flavor and smell. To be certified as true Stilton blue cheese it must be produced within one of the following three counties – Derbyshire, Leicestershire, or Nottinghamshire. This English blue cheese uses cows milk that has been pasteurized from local cows. Since this is such a strong cheese it should be used in moderation.
Maytag blue cheese is a very new variation of blue cheese. Named after its creator Fredrick L. Maytag II, this American cheese was born in America in 1941 in Newton Iowa. It uses cows milk that has been homogenized but is not pasteurized.
Cabrales blue cheese is a strong and spicy Spanish blue cheese that comes from the rural town of Asturias. The cheese is made with unpasteurized cows milk that is then combined with goat or sheep milk. Like Stilton, use sparingly.
Danish blue cheese, also known as Danablu, is obviously Danish in origin and made from the cream of cows milk. It is a creamier form of blue cheese. This is a very newly developed cheese that came from the Danish attempt to replicate Roquefort blue cheese.
Oxford blue cheese is a British cheese but developed by a French baron surprisingly in Oxfordshire England. It does share a lot in common with the British Stilton in flavor since it is stronger and spicier than most other blue cheeses. It isn’t quite a strong as Stilton and is quite creamy. It is made from unpasteurized cows milk.
Cambozola is a German blue cheese that is a fairly recently developed version of blue cheese. It is a very creamy version that attempts to mimic gorgonzola. It is so creamy that it is sometimes sold as Blue Brie. It is made from cows milk. It’s name is a combination of Camembert and Gorgonzola.
This is far from a comprehensive list and only touches on some of the more popular blue cheeses. For a more comprehensive list head over to the Wikipedia page of a List of Blue Cheeses.
The blue stuff in Gorgonzola cheese is Penicillium mold. More specifically it is the Penicillium species known as glacum. Stronger flavored blue cheeses use the Penicillium species roqueforti.
Penicillium is the same mold that is used to make penicillin. But the Penicillium species for making the antibiotic penicillin is called chrysogenum.
Since Gorgonzola is a member of the blue cheese family it technically can’t be milder.
Gorgonzola is one of the mildest blue cheeses. If you like blue cheeses in general but many you have tried are too strong, Gorgonzola is a good choice.
Gorgonzola is the mildest blue cheeses you can buy. Another very mild blue cheese is Danish Blue. Both of these are mild due to the Penicillium glacum mold used to make them.
Stronger flavored blue cheeses use a different strain of Penicillium called roqueforti.
Again, since Gorgonzola is a member of the blue cheese family it technically can’t be a substitution. But if you have Gorgonzola it can be used in recipes that call for blue cheese.
A point to note though is that Gorgonzola is one of the mildest blue cheeses. This means that whatever you use it in will have the mildest possible blue cheese flavor added. Depending on your recipe, this may be exactly what you’re looking for or it may not be strong enough to stand out from the other ingredients.
Like most cheese, blue cheese is high in fat. But blue cheese is very high in calcium and contains many vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial.
It is also believed that blue cheese can help with cardiovascular health. For the most benefit, you should stick to stronger-flavored blue cheeses such as Roquefort. All blue cheeses that use the Penicillium strain roqueforti are considered to be the best blue cheese for heart health.
In 2019, “Rogue River Blue” won the title of Worlds Best Cheese overall by the expert judges in Bergamo Italy.
If you’d like to try some, “Rogue River Blue” is produced in Oregan by Rouge Creamery.
So now that you know all about Gorgonzola we hope that you also learned about lots of other variations of blue cheese and are looking forward to trying them as much as we are here at KitchenPerfect. When I was a kid I avoided even smelling any blue cheese. Once I finally tried it when I was an adult I fell in love with it and I haven’t been able to get enough ever since. One of my favorite ways to eat blue cheese is on a burger with grilled onions. My mouth is watering as I type.
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