Everything to know about Roquefort

Updated: Sep 8

Surely one of the best-known blue-veined cheeses, Roquefort is made with raw sheep's milk. This fine cheese has an outstanding smoothness, a slight moldy smell and a delicious salt taste. Let's find out more about this succulent cheese.



Glossary:


The History of Roquefort

The Origin of the Word Roquefort

How is Roquefort Made?

Which Wine to Associate with Roquefort Cheese?

Why is Roquefort blue?

How to cut Roquefort?

Calories and nutritional information of Roquefort

How to choose a Roquefort

How to store Roquefort

How to cook and taste Roquefort


The History of Roquefort


Roquefort is one of the oldest cheeses in the world. In the 1st century AD, Pliny the Elder already mentioned Roquefort in his encyclopedic Naturalis Historia!


One of Roquefort's legends is that a shepherd, chasing the beautiful girl he was in love with, forgot his meal made of rye bread and curd sheep's cheese in one of the Combalou caves. When he found it some time later, the sheep's cheese was covered in fine, tender green mold. Hungry, the shepherd tasted the curious cheese ... Roquefort was born!


By the year 1000, the first mention of Roquefort appeared in the texts. At the end of the Middle Ages, Roquefort set out to conquer the southern regions. In the XVth Century, under the French King Charles VI, the refining of the cheese becomes the monopoly of the people of Roquefort and the caves are granted a protected status. In the Age of Enlightenment, the famous Diderot will award Roquefort the title of King of cheeses. In 1925 it became the first cheese to be recognized as an "Appellation d’Origine".


The rise of Roquefort mainly started during the 20th century when the region's producers adopted a more productive breed of sheep: the Lacaune breed.


While initially, a large part of the farmers in the region produced Roquefort, a monopoly grouping of Roquefort producers took place in 1840. This is how the first Roquefort company was created in 1842: the company "Rigal et Cie.". Nine years later, in 1851, the cellar masters of the company decided to buy this company and then renamed it "Société civile de Roquefort" which would become five years later, in 1856, the "Société des Caves-Réunies" and "Société anonyme des Propriétaires de Roquefort" in 1992.



The Origin of the Word Roquefort


The name "Roquefort" takes its origin from the "Rouergat" (a dialect of Occitan) "rocofórt" or "roquofórt", which then became French "rocfort" then "Roquefort".



How is Roquefort Made?


Roquefort is made from sheep's milk from the Lacaune breed. Milking takes place twice a day from December to the end of June. Raw milk is then sent to dairies where It is stored in tanks, heated to 30°C, rennet is added and after 2 hours, the curd is formed. It is then drained and sliced ​​into small cubes using a Lyre. It is then sown with the Penicillium Roqueforti, that will permit to later create the blue veins of Roquefort.


The sheep's milk curd is molded and then drained for 2 days.


The cheese is then removed from the mold and then salted for 3 days on one side then 2 days on the other side.


After that it's pierced with long metal needles, which allows the air to penetrate the cheese and the Penicillium to propagate and create the blue veins.



Pre-ripening


Only at that point the cheese that is called "bread" is stored in the cellars. It is placed it on wooden shelves on the edge where it will rest for 20 days at a temperature of around 10 ° C and a humidity of 98%.


Ripening


The cheese is then wrapped in pewter sheet which have the particularity of being microporous and therefore allow the air necessary for the ripening of Roquefort to pass, while preventing the formation of a crust.


The cheeses then pass through a ripening room, with a very cool temperature, which blocks the development of the Penicillium. They will stay there for at least 3 months and up to 350 days.


A Roquefort cheese weighs 2.8 kilos and it takes 12 liters of sheep's milk to make it.


Which Wine to Associate with Roquefort Cheese?


With a white wine, we advise you to accompany the Roquefort with Jurançon, Château de Rousse 2008. Its fresh mouthfeel and its fatty and round notes with aromas of fruit and spices will give a delicate response to Roquefort .With a red wine, we advise you to accompany your Roquefort with a Vintage Porto. The sugar and aromas of port nuts will soften the acidity and salt of Roquefort.


Why is Roquefort Blue?


The famous microscopic mushroom Penicillium Roqueforti is what gives the Roquefort its bluish green color and its particular taste.



How to Cut Roquefort?


The best cut of Roquefort are the slices that go from the edge to the core of the cheese. This cut will give you the full range of creamy and marbled flavors and nuances.


Calories and Nutritional Information of Roquefort


Roquefort has a minimum fat content of 32 g. Consumed in moderation, it is a good way to nourish your muscles as it contains large quantities of proteins (18.7 g/100 g).


Roquefort is also a very good source of calcium: a portion of 30 g provides almost 200 mg of this precious mineral, essential for the good health of the skeleton.


It also contains other essential minerals and trace elements, in particular phosphorus (430 mg / 100 g) and magnesium (27 mg / 100 g).


Finally, Roquefort is a source of vitamin B, which guarantees good assimilation and good use of energy.


How to Choose a Roquefort


Choose it with its mass evenly veined with blue or green. It must be well bound and above all, smooth and moist. Its crust should not be crumbly. Its particular fragrance is marked by a slight smell of mold.


How to Store Roquefort


Keep it in the lower part of the refrigerator if you're not lucky enough to own a cool, humid cellar. In all cases, Roquefort should never be left unprotected against ambient air. So store it in its original packaging or in a piece of aluminum foil. Another important rule: do not subject it to sudden temperature changes, which would alter its taste and texture. Finally, know that it is very preferable to take it out of the fridge at least half an hour before presenting it at the table so that it regains all its smoothness.


How to Cook and Taste Roquefort



It is recommendable to consume it at the end of the meal, put on a small cheese board and accompanied by a good piece of farmhouse bread. Tradition requires that it should be washed down with a small glass of wine. Preferably sweet white wines like Sauternes or Jurançon or Natural Sweet Wines (Porto for example) or wines from the Cahors region.

Roquefort is also ideal with raw vegetables, as an aperitif or as a starter. It is not uncommon to add it to salads.


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