Best Blue Cheese

The 10 Best Blue Cheese for The Best Salad Toppings

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Whether you have a love or hate relationship with it, blue cheese remains a favorite for many. This veined, aromatic and tangy cheese is a great salad topping; sits well on many pasta dishes, makes a rich blue cheese sauce or can just be served up with crackers and bread on a meat and cheese platter.

 There are many different blue cheeses available from milder to the more traditional strong blue cheeses, and in this article, we review some of the best blue cheese available for a range of recipe needs. We also take a detailed look at blue cheese, including how it is made and for those who are not as keen on the aroma of blue cheese, we also consider how best to store it to minimize refrigerator odor! We also look at some of its nutrition and why blue cheese is always best eaten in moderation.

​Best Pick

igourmet Maytag Blue

The Maytag Blue with its lemony finish and crumbly texture is our homegrown and handmade best pick of the blue cheeses.

​Budget Pick

igourmet Blue Stilton DOP by Tuxford and Tebbutt

The traditional and complexly flavored Tuxford and Tebbutt blue Stilton imported from England is our budget pick of the blue cheeses.

Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Blue Cheese


1. ​igourmet Maytag Blue  

Highlighted Features

  • One pound of unpasteurized blue cheese hand made in Iowa in the European style
  • Moist and crumbly with a tangy flavor and lemony finish
  • Suitable for vegetarians
  • Shipped expedited and cold for freshness

The Maytag blue will pair with most fruits, wines and cheese platters. Made in central Iowa from unpasteurized milk, this cheese is modeled after European blue cheeses and is produced by hand. This is a stronger and tangy blue cheese with a lemony finish with a moist yet crumbly texture; although an odd number of buyers have found it too crumbly on occasion. Unlike a number of other blue cheeses, this is suitable for vegetarians and this one pound of cheese is shipped cold and expedited to maintain its freshness.

​Pros

  • Unpasteurized blue cheese
  • US-made
  • Vegetarian
  • Hand produced
  • Tangy with lemony finish
  • Shipped cold

​Cons

  • Extra costs for cold and expedited shipping
  • Some buyers consider it is too crumbly

2. igourmet Blue Stilton DOP by Tuxford and Tebbutt 

Highlighted Features

  • Typical blue veined DOP Stilton made in Melton Mowbray, UK
  • Individually matured and hand turned and graded
  • This one pound block has a complex flavor with a piquant finish
  • To maintain freshness this is shipped expedited and on ice

This prize winning Tuxford and Tebbutt blue Stilton is made from pasteurized milk in Melton Mowbray, a small English market town in the center of the Stilton cheesemaking region. This Stilton is still individually matured and turned and graded by hand. This is a Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) Stilton which comes as a one pound block shipped expedited and cold.

This is a complexly flavored Stilton with a piquant finish and typical blue veining. An odd buyer considers this does not always have as much of a bite as other Stilton and flavor wise may not be as comparable to other Stilton.

​Pros

  • Pasteurized Stilton
  • Traditionally made in England
  • Complex flavor
  • Cold shipped

​Cons

  • May not have as much tang to it compared to other Stilton
  • Can be more expensive than domestic blue cheeses because of import and cold shipping costs

3. igourmet Saint Agur

Highlighted Features

  • A 7.5 oz block of pasteurized blue cheese made in the Auvergne region of France
  • Aged for at least two months this is a rich and creamy blue cheese with a spicy flavor
  • Lighter in strength and saltiness than other blue cheeses
  • Shipped cold to help keep it fresh

Made from pasteurized milk in the Auvergne region of France, the Saint Agur blue cheese has been aged for at least two months. This 7.5 oz block of blue cheese is rich and creamy with a spicy blue flavor that is not as strong or as salty compared to more traditional blue cheeses. Those who prefer stronger blue cheese may find this on the tame side. There are also extra costs associated with cold and expedited shipping.

​Pros

  • Pasteurized blue cheese
  • French made
  • Spicy blue flavor
  • Aged at least 60 days
  • Cold shipped

​Cons

  • ​Its milder and less salty flavor may not suit all blue cheese connoisseurs
  • ​Extra shipping costs for cold shipping

4. Organic Blue Cheese Crumbles by Organic Valley 

Highlighted Features

  • 4 oz resealable container of blue cheese crumbles
  • Certified USDA organic and made in Wisconsin
  • Made from Roquefort cultures, this blue cheese is aged in temperature controlled caves
  • This creamy and tangy award winning cheese is shipped cold

The Organic Valley blue cheese crumbles are made from pasteurized milk from grass raised cows. This 4 oz resealable container of crumbles are ideal for making blue cheese sauce, adding to salads and other dishes. Made in Wisconsin with Roquefort cultures, this blue cheese is certified USDA organic and has been aged in temperature controlled caves. This is a tangy and creamy award winning blue cheese although the odd buyer considers its flavor a little mild for a blue cheese. This cheese is also shipped cold for freshness

​Pros

  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Organic
  • US-made
  • From Roquefort cultures
  • ​Resealable container

​Cons

  • Some have found its flavor too mild for a blue cheese
  • As crumbles, these are only suitable for cooking or finishing with rather than for snacking on
  • Extra shipping costs for cold shipping

5. Blue, Saga Cheese by For The Gourmet 

Highlighted Features

  • A one pound wheel of pasteurized Danish blue brie
  • As a brie this contains a full edible mold rind
  • Creamy, soft and rich flavor
  • Arrives cold and expedited to keep it at its best

The Saga classic blue brie is a Danish cow’s milk cheese which is a light blue cheese similar to brie. Like a traditional brie, this one pound wheel of pasteurized blue brie contains an edible mold rind and has a soft, creamy and rich flavor although the occasional buyer considers the flavor a little too strong for a blue brie.

This blue cheese ships expedited and on ice although this may have occasionally arrived with the ice pack melted making the cheese too warm too consume.

​Pros

  • Pasteurized blue brie
  • Danish light blue
  • Mold rind
  • Rich, soft and creamy flavor

​Cons

  • Flavor may be on the strong side for a typical blue brie
  • Although this ships cold, it has on occasion arrived with a melted ice pack

6. Kraft Blue Cheese Dressing 

Highlighted Features

  • 60 packs of 1.5 oz single serve blue cheese dressing
  • Distinctive and balanced flavor with a smooth texture
  • This dressing does not need refrigerating and is ideal for meals on the go
  • Made with blue cheese and other added ingredients

The 60 packs of single serve 1.5 oz Kraft blue cheese dressing are ideal for meals on the go and do not need to be refrigerated. This dressing has a balanced and distinctive flavor with a smooth texture. These dressings do contain ingredients including soybean oil, xanthan gum and artificial colors and as they do not contain an expiry date, buyers will need to decode expiration from the manufacturers code printed on the packaging. Some buyers consider this dressing lacks blue cheese flavor and may be on the salty side.

​Pros

  • Blue cheese dressing
  • Single serve
  • Shelf stable
  • Balanced and distinctive flavor

​Cons

  • These do not have an expiry date on them, instead you have to decode the manufacturing codes
  • May be on the salty side
  • Contains added ingredients

7. igourmet Royal Blue Stilton DOP by Long Clawson

Highlighted Features

  • A 7.5 oz piece of DOP Stilton from Long Clawson Dairy, England
  • Has a typical Stilton taste profile with delicate blue veins
  • Shipped cold and expedited to maintain its freshness

Made from pasteurized milk and imported from England, the Royal Blue Stilton comes as a 7.5 oz piece. This is a DOP Stilton made by the Long Clawson Dairy which has a typical complex Stilton taste profile and delicate blue veins. Some recent purchases of this have been on the older side and like other blue cheeses, as it is delivered expedited and cold, there is a shipping premium on it.

​Pros

  • Pasteurized Stilton
  • Made in England
  • Stilton taste profile
  • Cold shipped

​Cons

  • The odd buyer considers this has arrived on the older side
  • Extra costs for cold shipping

8. Roth Cheese Buttermilk Blue Cheese 

Highlighted Features

  • One pound piece of handcrafted small batch Buttermilk Blue made in Wisconsin
  • Cellar aged for over two months this award winning Buttermilk Blue is suitable for vegetarians
  • Has a soft, mellow and earthy flavor with a creamy finish

Handcrafted in small batches in Wisconsin, the Roth Buttermilk Blue has a mellow, soft and earthy flavor with a creamy finish. This award winning blue cheese is cellar aged for over two months and suitable for vegetarians. Coming as a one pound piece, as a creamier blue cheese, some may find its flavor too mild compared to traditional blue cheeses. This is also shipped expedited and cold for freshness.

​Pros

  • Buttermilk Blue cheese
  • US-made
  • Mellow flavor with creamy finish
  • Vegetarian
  • Cold shipped

​Cons

  • Creamier flavor than traditional blue cheeses
  • Some can find this cheese too mild

9. Danish Blue Cheese by PastaCheese 

Highlighted Features

  • Imported Danish blue cheese (Danablu)
  • Pasteurized and homogenized for a smoother curd with fewer veins
  • A semi soft blue cheese that is a little crumbly
  • Sharp and salty flavor which is milder than traditional blue cheeses
  • Shipped cold and expedited to keep it fresh

Imported from Denmark, the Danish blue cheese is creamier and milder than other blue cheeses. Also known as Danablu, this was first produced in Denmark in 1927 as an alternative to Roquefort.

Shipped expedited and cold, this blue cheese is made with pasteurized milk homogenized for a smooth curd. It does not have a rind and has fewer blue veins. Semi soft and a little crumbly this has a sharp and salty flavor, although not as sharp as more traditional blue cheeses.

​Pros

  • Danish blue cheese
  • Pasteurized
  • Mild and creamy
  • Semi soft
  • Fewer blue veins

​Cons

  • Flavor not as strong as other traditional blue cheeses
  • Is softer than traditional blue cheeses

​10. Roquefort AOP Societe Bee 

Highlighted Features

  • A three pound (half round) piece of tangy and crumbly AOP Roquefort
  • Produced from raw Laucaune ewe’s milk and matured in seventeenth century cellars in the Roquefort region of France
  • A slightly moist and sharp blue cheese with emerald green veins
  • This is shipped on ice and expedited

This traditional Roquefort Société Bee cheese has been made with whole raw sheep’s milk. Coming as a three pound half round, this AOP (Protected Designation of Origin) Roquefort is made in the Roquefort region of France from Lacaune ewes.

This is a slightly moist cheese which is tangy and crumbly with emerald green veins. This sharp Roquefort is matured in cellars built in the seventeenth century which were designed to allow air to circulate and maintain humidity near saturation point – allowing the flavor of Roquefort to develop.

As a strong blue cheese, this is best enjoyed in very small portions and with careful pairings to prevent it from overpowering other flavors. Although shipped cold, this will begin to decline in quality so will need consuming soon after receiving.

​Pros

  • Roquefort
  • Ewe’s milk cheese
  • Emerald green veins
  • Strong and tangy
  • Cold shipped

​Cons

  • As a traditional strong blue, this will be too strong for some palates
  • Will need eating quite quickly to prevent deterioration in quality
  • Can overpower other food pairings if not careful

Things to Consider Before Buying Blue Cheese

Blue cheese is the name given to a range of cheese varieties which can be made from cow’s goat’s or ewe’s milk and contain distinctive blue, green or gray mold veins running through them.

It is these Penicillium mold veins that give blue cheese its distinctive aroma and tangy, sharp and bold flavor and it is for this reason that blue cheese is very much an acquired taste.

One legend as to how blue cheese developed is that a young shepherd eating his lunch in a cave of the hills of Roquefort had his attention caught by an attractive young lady seen in the distance. He dashed off to find the lady, leaving his sheep in the care of his dog and his part eaten lunch of bread and ewe’s milk curd in a cool and safe place.

After searching for his lady for a few days – without success – he returned to his cave to find his lunch had gone moldy, but he was so hungry he ate it anyway and found the cheese was actually quite delicious, and thus, Roquefort was born!


Whether fact or fiction; early cheeses were aged in caves where under the right conditions, Penicillium mold could grow.

How Mold Develops in Blue Cheese

The mold is added to a cheese at a particular point of the cheese production process, usually through injection in to the curds or the formed cheese. How and when added varies depending on the type of blue cheese and how produced. Typical molds are Penicillium from the local region where the cheese has been produced.

Pins or rods are used to pierce the cheese before injection so that air can enter the cheese as Penicillium cannot grow without oxygen.

Types of Blue Cheese

As a rule of thumb, the younger the cheese, the milder and creamier it will be. As a cheese matures it strengthens and becomes crumblier. Blue cheeses such as Danish Blue and Gorgonzola are often considered mild, a Stilton is a moderately strong cheese while Maytag and Roquefort are strong blue cheeses.

Roquefort has a Protected Designation of Origin (AOP) and must be made from the milk of Lacaune, Basco or Manech sheep and aged in the Combalou caves in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. These caves are also the only source of Penicillium roqueforti or P. roqueforti which is used to mold the cheese.

Rennet is added to ewe’s milk within 48 hours of milking and the mix is then heated in vats and allowed to ferment into curds. The curds are drained, cut and salted and a few days later is thoroughly pierced and placed into the caves and left for a few weeks for the spores to grow. The cheese is then wrapped and aged for between three and ten months.

Maytag is named after the farm where it is produced, just outside Newton, Iowa. In 1941, the Maytag family began to produce cheese that would compare to Roquefort.

Maytag is made by separating cream from Iowa sourced milk, homogenizing it and then returning it to the skim milk. The milk is then allowed to ripen before rennet is added and the resulting mix is heated and Penicillium added. The cheese rounds are then hand formed and aged in controlled caves which are cool with high humidity.

Stilton is also a Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) and has to be produced in Leicestershire, Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire in the UK where there are only seven dairies licensed to produce Stilton. Named after the town where it was first produced, Stilton is always cylindrical and never pressed. It has a unique crust and the veins radiate from the cheese center in a distinctive pattern.

Made from pasteurized milk over a nine week process, Stilton is injected with P. roqueforti and after curds are drained overnight, they are salted and placed in cylindrical molds. These molds are hand rotated as the cheese ripens which gives a looser texture for better mold growth. Stainless steel needles are used to pierce the cheese to its core to create the veins.

Gorgonzola is an Italian blue cheese made with whole cow’s or goat’s milk or a mix of the two. Gorgonzola can be soft and crumbly or firm. When gorgonzola is made, the milk is warmed with lactic acid bacteria and Penicillium glaucum and separates into curds. The curds are re-injected with mold and rods are used to create channels in the cheese and encourage mold growth. This gives the cheese its blue-green veins.

Some gorgonzola is also made with P. roqueforti. A gorgonzola is usually aged for three to four months; the longer it is aged, the firmer the cheese becomes.

Danish Blue or Danablu was created by a cheesemaker called Marius Boel to mimic Roquefort. Made with cow’s milk, it is injected with P. roqueforti during its curd stage and then aged in caves or similar damp and dark environments for two to three months.

Keeping Blue Cheese at Its Best and Minimizing Storage Smell

Unless choosing blue brie, avoid selecting a blue cheese with a lot of white mold on the rind as this means a blue cheese may not have been properly handled.

Blue cheese should never have an ammonia smell – this is a sign that it is going off. Some people say that creamier and crumbly blue cheeses should have an herby or almost grassy smell while a strong blue should have a smoky or nutty – never gamey – smell.

Keep in line with any ‘Use By’ or ‘Best Used By’ date recommendations on the packaging, otherwise, a softer blue cheese is best eaten within a week or so after opening. If harder, then it should keep for up to three weeks from opening.

If blue cheese is growing different colored mold or has a change in texture, then it is probably safer to trash it.

Although you may love blue cheese, not everyone in your household may be a great fan and like any strong cheese, blue cheese aroma can quickly overpower other foods in the refrigerator.

When you buy blue cheese, it should be removed from its plastic wrapping and wrapped in wax paper which will allow it to breathe and stop it from drying out. You can then cover with a layer of aluminum foil and place the cheese in an airtight container to trap its aroma before placing in the refrigerator.

Some may also prefer to pierce the container to allow air flow however this will allow the aroma to circulate as well. Using plastic wrap on a blue cheese may help minimize odor but it will also trap moisture which will encourage mold to grow on the surface of the cheese.

When you are ready to use, the blue cheese should be allowed to come up to room temperature on the countertop before serving.

Safety of Blue Cheese

Some molds produce mycotoxins, and these can cause health problems such as gastrointestinal issues. However, the mold used, and the production techniques means that blue cheese does not contain mycotoxins.

This means blue cheese is safe to consume, but those who are pregnant should avoid unpasteurized blue cheese and some caution may be necessary in those who are allergic to penicillin.

Penicillin antibiotics are made from Penicillium chrysogenum while most blue cheeses use P. roqueforti or other strains. This means some people can be allergic to penicillin and eat blue cheese while others are allergic to both. If you are allergic to penicillin or other molds, then extra caution should be advised when consuming blue cheese.

Blue Cheese Nutrition

Like many foods, blue cheese is best consumed in moderation. A 3.5 oz serving of blue cheese will provide around 45% of recommended fat intake, 95% of saturated fat intake and 25% of daily cholesterol.

It is also higher in sodium than other cheeses, containing around 50% of our daily sodium intake and some blue cheeses such as Roquefort have an even higher sodium content. Blue cheese will provide around 42% of our protein intake.

It also contains 53% of our daily calcium intake, around 20% of the recommended intake of vitamin B12 and 8% of our vitamin B6. It is also a source of vitamins A, B2, niacin and D as well as minerals such as phosphorous and zinc.

There has been some scientific evidence suggesting that blue cheese may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is because of the secondary metabolites found in Penicillium roqueforti. The high value molecules that P. roqueforti produces may also have some benefit to our health.

Conclusion

In this article, we have seen how blue cheeses vary with their strength and saltiness and we have considered how best to store blue cheese to minimize refrigerator odor and also how to tell when a blue cheese is past its best. We also looked at the nutritional profile and although a good source of protein and other nutrients, blue cheese is high in sodium and saturated fat, and like many of the foods we enjoy, should always be consumed in moderation.

 Whether you are a lifelong lover of blue cheese or new to this dairy delicacy, we trust you have found this article interesting and informative. We also hope that our reviews of blue cheeses has given you the confidence to choose the best blue cheese for your salad toppings, sauces and platters.
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Madison Taylor

Based in upstate New York, Madison is a devoted foodie and spends some of her time developing new re...

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