The special wild mushroom, cream and woodland flavours of AOP Bleu d'Auvergne is said to come from the fertile, biodiverse volcanic soil where the cows graze. The curds are cut into tiny bits (the ‘coiffage’) to allow the mould, the Penicillium Roqueforti, to grow between the grains of cheese.
Bleu d’Auvergne is associated with Antoine Roussel, a native of Auvergne who went to Rouen to do an internship in a pharmacy. Roussel came from a cheese making village, where they knew how to make blue cheese, but for some mysterious reason it didn’t always come out right.
While working in the pharmacy he noticed how mould formed on rye bread and thought to use some of the blue powder from the mould—which worked, but only on the surface of the cheese. But in 1854, he had the idea of piercing the paste with knitting needles to create holes in the middle, and it worked a treat. It’s been AOP since 1975 and sold all over France.
Image by Coyau