Looking for a crowd-pleasing blue? There's a reason this octagonal wheel from France's volcanic central Auvergne region is found around the world. Produced since 1988 of France, Saint Agur is an irresistibly buttery double-cream cheese speckled with spicy blue veins.
Its maker, Savencia Fromage & Dairy, dates back to 1920 in Illoud, France. That's when founder Jean-Noel Bongrain, then only 19 years of age, inherited the small family business of Fromagerie d’Illoud (as it was then called). By the early 1950s, Bongrain developed the family business in a new direction, seeking to break away from traditional French cheeses. His vision was to produce a nationally-branded cheese, an idea that was unheard of at the time in France. The first cheese to be made along these lines was Caprice des Dieux, first produced in 1956.
Having penetrated the French market, Bongrain then launched further afield, and by 1960 was selling cheese in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. Today Savencia Fromage & Dairy is one of France’s largest cheese and dairy producers, operating production facilities in 24 countries around the world.
Over time, Saint Agur has become one of the most popular cheeses in France, as well as a hit in the UK. Each five-pound octagonal wheel requires about five gallons of cow’s milk for production and contains 60 percent buttercream, thus qualifying it a double-cream cheese.
The interior paste of the cheese is moist, dense and yielding, with a pale cream-colored paste and characteristic blue-green veins of mold. Flavors are rich and buttery with a spicy tang.
Pair it with a chardonnay, a syrah, or a port.