Why Gorgonzola is the Ultimate Entertaining Blue | culture: the word on cheese
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Why Gorgonzola is the Ultimate Entertaining Blue

Legend has it, Gorgonzola was accidentally created in northern Italy when a cheesemaker left his vat open in a rush to meet his lover. The following day he noticed his mistake and added fresh curds to fix his blunder. Months later he observed a bluish mold on the cheese, tasted it, and was pleasantly surprised at the exceptional flavor. As centuries passed, the world has developed its own love affair with Gorgonzola, and all the ways to incorporate it in cuisine.

Traditionally, Gorgonzola is different from other blue cheeses because it’s made exclusively from unskimmed cow’s milk. Once curds are set into molds, makers inject mold strains Penicillium roqueforti or Penicillium glaucoma, then quickly puncture the cheese with metal rods to create airways for the unique blue veining to grow. To be certified Gorgonzola DOP, the cheese must age for at least 50 days. There are two types of Gorgonzola cheese: the young, mild, and creamy Gorgonzola Dolce DOP, and the older Gorgonzola Piccante DOP, which is piquant, saltier, and slightly spicy. Both are delicious simply drizzled with honey, but these recipes showcase the many ways Gorgonzola can enhance your entertaining menu.

Gorgonzola and Honey Agrodolce

Agrodolce is an Italian condiment that translates to “sour and sweet.” In this version, Gorgonzola and raw honey are whipped together, becoming the focal point of a wintry happy hour spread. Add it to sandwiches or on top of steak for elevated flavor.

Gorgonzola Fig Towers

This versatile recipe plays double duty as a starter served over lettuce or a dessert with vanilla gelato. Make the dough from scratch or save time by using store-bought pie dough. Try using Gorgonzola Piccante for the appetizer and Gorgonzola Dolce for the dessert.

Gorgonzola Pasta with Walnut Pesto

Save this for a snowy day when you want a rich and creamy pasta dish that warms the soul. Open a hearty Zinfandel, light a fire, and make sure there’s enough for seconds.

Creamy Au Gratin with Gorgonzola and Root Veggies

The flavors of this dish pair well with turkey and roasted chicken, but it’s hearty enough to be a vegetarian entree with salad and sourdough bread.

Grape and Gorgonzola Focaccia

This sweet-and-savory dish is a welcome addition to a brunch or dinner party—or serve alongside a kale salad for a light lunch.

Chef Josh Berry and Maggie Knowles

Chef Josh Berry and Maggie Knowles are both native Mainers who agree that cheese makes even the worst days better. They fell in love at a beekeeping conference and joined culinary and creative forces through recipes, photography, and writing. They also work as restaurant consultants through the B Frame. Josh’s career has taken him throughout cheese capitals such as Switzerland, Italy, and Vermont; his favorite cheese is Cabot Clothbound. Maggie has written about food, theater, and parenting; her current favorite cheese is Big Sky Grana. When not eating, they are tending to their chickens, bees, small dogs, and big teenagers.

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