For week two of Oregon and Canada, I thought we would go with a stinky, pungent, moldy, and all around fabulous blue cheese from each locale so let's get right to it.
When you think of Oregon if you are a fan of American artisanal cheeses, perhaps you think of Rogue River Creamery? I know I certainly do. Rogue River Creamery has been in existence since the 1930s crafting Cheddars that were shipped overseas to the troops fighting on the front lines in World War II. At the end of WWII, Tom Vella and the team behind Rogue River introduced a cottage cheese to the lineup and then a few years later, he decided to add a blue cheese as well. And folks from there, the rest is history. Tom Vella and his family crafted award winning blue cheeses respected the country and world over until Tom died at age 100 in 1998. The Creamery since 1998 has changed hands a few times but fret not their blue cheeses are still among the best I have had. They make six distinct types of blue cheese -- Caveman, Oregonzola, Rogue River Blue, Rogue River Smokey Blue, Crater Lake, and Oregon Blue. Of all of their selections, my favorite is definitely the Rogue River Blue. Raw cow's milk blue cheese aged for approximately a year wrapped in grape leaves soaked in pear eau de vie, this cheese is an excellent example of what Orgeon artisanal cheesemakers have to offer. Its dense and creamy punchy yet smooth and spicy, earthy, vegetal, and rustic with a sweetness to it. A delight in cheese form!
Image courtesy of http://www.roguecreamery.com/
And what of it's Canadian counterpart?
How about Baby Blue from Moonstruck Cheese located on Saltspring Island in British Columbia. Granted, Moonstruck does not have decades of history on their side like Rogue River, but the two women behind the cheesemaking operation have been producing cheese since 1998 and now make nine certified organic cheeses. Modeled on a Cambozola style cheese, part triple cream as in a Camembert and part Gorgonzola, Baby Blue is more cream and less blue. Yes there's still the spicy punch of the blue which does an excellent job at breaking up the sweet and smooth buttery creamy raw cow's milk interior. A great cheese to introduce you to the excellence of Canadian organic cheese production!