Bonnie: Lots of people claim to find blue cheeses strong and overpowering. If you’re one of those, I suggest you try this creamy, mild buttermilk blue from Wisconsin’s Roth Käse, as I think you’ll like it.
Buttermilk blue is not only for those who enjoy veined cheese, but for those who haven’t yet developed a palate for them. Seriously, this raw milk cheese is mellow yet bold; it’s mild, tangy and creamy with just a hint of the wonderful blue veins. I suggest you give it a try. It just might change your mind about blue-ripened cheeses. Do enjoy it with a yeasty beer, a crisp white wine such as a Grüner Veltliner or Reisling or any red wine.
I find buttermilk blue great for eating along with dried fruits (figs, Craisins, or raisins), dark chocolate and honey, for adding to salads, dressings or dips, or for crumbling over pizza, burgers or risotto. Consider it for your upcoming holiday cheese board.
This past summer when I was in Des Moines, Iowa, to learn all about soy, Linda Funk, executive director of the Soyfoods Council, invited the group of food editors and writers on the trip to her home to sample soy foods.
But since Linda also represents various cheese companies from Wisconsin, we also had an incredible cheese spread to sample. I actually met Linda on a food editors’ Wisconsin cheese trip when she was living in Wisconsin and working for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board; we’ve been friends ever since. Luckily, I tried Roth Käse’s Buttermilk Blue and then suggested to Bryan and Eric that we feature it as a Bite.
Bryan: A few weeks back, I had the chance to invite some friends over for a small dinner party. Co-authoring a food blog does have its perks, and the occasional foodie press package does make its way to my door from time to time. Hey, we really do try these products to let you know if they’re good or not. They’re certainly not all good, but when they are, they’re a pleasure and a treat to enjoy, so why not share with friends?
The dinner was supposed to be a celebration of autumn. We had planned some great dishes to really highlight some of the great seasonal bounty: roasted pork tenderloin with pear chutney, mashed sweet potatoes, butternut squash soup, carrot cake. It seemed the main course would likely be the star. A funny thing about dinner parties: The majority of time spent eating often is in the “beforehand,” the passed-apps period — the hour (or two) you spend with cocktails, wine small finger foods and cheeses. It can sometimes be this extended exposure that really causes you to take note of a food. At our dinner party, the finger food was tartlets, filled with a buttermilk cheese and apple-onion compote. Our cheeses were varied: Gouda, Plave, tipsy goat, Edam and two bleus… a cave-aged soft, traditionally styled blue cheese and Roth Käse Buttermilk Blue.
The cheeses stole the show. Granted, everyone raved about everything (it was all really good), but many of the comments were about the blue cheeses: so different, so refreshing and rich. I’ll go ahead and say that I’m a true cheese lover (bread, wine, cheese — that’s all I really need), but I’m definitely not a fan of the blues. Eat them, I thought — more tipsy goat for me. They blues are generally a little too funky for me. I can handle barnyard, but a blue always seems to offend my palate. But there was too much positive feedback. I went in for a taste.
Most all the cheeses slowly dwindled to their last chunks, pieces too oddly shaped to cut but too big to grab and eat (the host’s scraps). Trying my leftover samples again, I was really wowed by the subtlety of the buttermilk blue. It was not only not offensive, it was oddly luscious, not overly pungent and surprisingly sweet. It will never be the go-to cheese of choice for me, but I will admit I have crumbled it into pita with turkey, chicken salad with grapes and almost every lettuce mixture I’ve had since the dinner party. (It was a big chunk of cheese). It might not make my top 10, but it might also be the only blue cheese I’ll actually buy.
Eric: In the world of cheese, blue cheese is like the antisocial kid in elementary school who sits in the corner; it has a pungent smell and a defining unique taste, is covered in mold and is disliked by a select people. With these characteristics, I’m sure you’re beginning to wonder why such a cheese adorns our list of the best products. The simple truth is that at one point, the antisocial kid grows up and finds a group of people who enjoy his taste and smell.
Roth Käse Buttermilk Blue is like no blue-veined cheese (bleu, Gorgonzola) I’ve tasted before. It doesn’t have an overpowering taste. Instead, it’s much more subtle to the palate. And that funkiness my brother mentions, found in most blue-veined cheese, is missing from the buttermilk blue. It’s almost as though the cheese’s mold is for show, that is, until you take your first bite and sample that defining taste.
One of the most popular main courses in the restaurant I work at is a Gorgonzola-stuffed veal cutlet. On most occasions when painting a picture of the dish in a guest’s mind, I mention that the presence of the blue-veined cheese does not overpower the dish.