Blue Ridge Bleu
In the sleepy town of Travelers Rest, South Carolina, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll find a young entrepreneurial cheesemaker named Christian Hansen crafting a range of small-batch cheeses. Hansen, who was born in Denmark, is staying true to a family legacy; both his grandfather and great-grandfather worked in the Danish dairy industry. After building a career as a software engineer in the US, Hansen and his wife Louisa decided to pursue a homesteading lifestyle. They moved to Travelers Rest from Austin, Tx., and began refurbishing a local warehouse to build a cheesemaking facility.
Hansen makes cheese out of raw cow’s milk sourced from Southern Oaks Jersey Farm in nearby Abbeville County. As his cheeses are found in more and more local shops and restaurants, he plans to add a 400-gallon vat to store milk and to open a cheese shop in front of his creamery.
Blue Ridge Bleu was inspired by British traditional Stilton. Hansen’s very first aged cheese, the striking blue-veined wheel develops a natural rind while aging.
Blue Ridge Bleu has aromas of apples, grapes, and rose. Its semi-soft, blue-veined paste has a flavor that builds, starting light, fruity and milky and finishing with hints of earth and bark.
Pair this cheese with a port or with a full-bodied red wine. Or add it to a salad; at local dining institution Restaurant 17, chefs serve Blue Ridge Bleu over heirloom tomatoes with herbs and spinach.