For some, funky, moldy blue cheese is the best thing since sliced bread (sliced cheese?). But for others, blue cheese can seem downright intimidating. We get it — the mold itself can be off-putting visually, and sometimes texturally, and the strong, spicy flavor of many blue cheeses can easily overwhelm an unaccustomed palate. If that sounds like you, don’t think you have to avoid blue cheese forever — it’s possible you just haven’t found your moldy, cheesy soulmate. Whether you’re a lover of mild cheddar, sweet, creamy cheeses, or oozy bloomy rinds, at least one of these three blues has something to offer you. Try one (or all of them) — you might just find a new favorite cheese!
Made in small, artisinal batches by the Roelli family in Wisconsin, Dunbarton Blue is actually a young cheddar pierced with holes, allowing oxygen to initiate the growth of blue mold. Typically, blue cheese is not pressed, which allows for an open-textured cheese that encourages mold growth, but Dunbarton Blue is pressed. This limits the amount of blue mold and gives the cheese a firmer texture. Lincoln Broadbooks of Kansas City’s Chow Town describes Dunbarton Blue as “a relatively mild blue cheese.” He continues, “It has a mild punch, but earthy flavors are more forward and the finish is more like cheddar then a blue. Its meaty and mushroomy flavors are heavy, but the balance of flavors keeps it from being overwhelming.” Swap your favorite cheddar for Dunbarton Blue on your next burger or grilled cheese.
Gorgonzola Dolce is another great blue cheese for beginners. “Dolce” translates to “sweet” in Italian, and this blue cheese is as mild-sounding as its name. This cheese was developed after World War II in response for a demand for milder blue cheese — and that demand hasn’t ceased since! Though the production process is nearly identical to that of Gorgonzola Naturale, this cheese doesn’t have the assertive flavors of its cousin. Rather, they are milky and buttery, with a clean tactic tang. For a decadent dinner, slather some Gorgonzola Dolce on a soft baguette and enjoy with a crisp glass of Champagne.
Love brie? We’ve got the blue cheese for you. Hubbardston Blue from Westfield Farm is a bit more powerful than the former two cheeses, though still an excellent cheese for blue-cheese newbies. The surface ripened cheese can be made with cow’s or goat’s milk depending on the season, and has a creamy, soft center with a powdery, blue-gray mold that covers the rind. Awarded the Best of Show of American Cheese Society back in 1987 and 1993, this long-time favorite has flavors of mushrooms and truffles. Try it with a spoonful of beer jam for a real treat.