28 January 2007
le penicillium roqueforti
Roquefort (Carles, France). Unpasteurized sheep's milk,
aged 3 months, semi-hard.
Perhaps it’s best that we keep the penicillium roqueforti on the back burner until we get some basics down, no? We’re dealing with the second most popular cheese in France, a raw sheep’s milk, stinky, salty, green mess of goodness. With such money on the line the “appellation d’orgine contrôlée" is of course in full swing, though lest you think that Roquefort is an invention of shrewd late 20th century marketing, Charles VI accorded the inhabitants of Roquefort a monopoly on the unique production process in 1411, and Pliny the Elder seems to have had some kind words for a cheese bearing a striking resemblance to our current stinky subject.
The trick is to drop some specially made rye bread into a cave in the south of France, leave it there for six to eight weeks, and then harvest the mold. Fresh white cheese is brought into the “cave,” the aforementioned penicillium spores are released into the air (rather than directly into the cheese, so that the fermentation happens evenly), and the tell-tale green ashy flakes start showing up in a few weeks. Three months in, the color is most evident, and then as the cheese ages, some of the green mold flakes start to disappear.
Feta Kuti, 30 Januray 2007