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What the Blue Cheese Haters Are Missing

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In the pantheon of divisive foods, blue cheese often stands alone.

Wisconsin-based journalist Nicole Haase has hated blue cheese all her life. “That funk is all I taste,” she says. “Blue cheese just kind of ruins everything.” And she’s not the only one who feels this way, either.

“Nobody is ever ‘meh’ about blue cheese,” says Pamela Vachon, a freelance food writer and cheese educator at Murray’s Cheese in New York City. “It’s always a strong feeling, whether it leans toward love or hate.”

The reasons why some people adore blue cheese and others detest it include exposure, evolutionary instinct and, of course, personal preference. But some dismiss this very broad category based on erroneous, outdated or incomplete information. With an open mind and the right approach, almost anyone can find the right blue for them.

What Is Blue Cheese?

Whereas a cheese like Parmesan is strictly regulated, blue is a wide open wheel. Blue cheese is often ripened with edible cultures from the mold Penicillium and can be made from cow, sheep, goat or plant milk. This creates semi-soft varieties encased in bloomy rinds, as well as tart blues that crumble on contact.

The methodology is ancient. Some historians believe that Pliny the Elder was writing rave reviews of Roquefort, a French blue made from sheep’s milk, as early as A.D. 79.