Blue is Beautiful!
Each year around the time of the first real snow, our little yellow cheeses here at the Creamery begin to develop a delightful blue and white mottling on their rinds as they age. This happens for a couple reasons, both related to our distinct location here the fine city of Ann Arbor, in the great state of Michigan. First, because we make our cheese right next door to Zingerman’s Bakehouse, and blue is a classic bread mold, our proximity to delicious baked goods lends itself to blue-y cheese. Second, the cold temperature and low moisture of the winter months here in the Mitten make conditions especially good for this particular mold to find its way atop our young, mold-ripened cheeses.
We usually see it most on the cheeses with the geotrichum-rind (the yellow-rinded ones, like the Manchester and Ypsi), which is more accommodating to ambient molds in the air; the white mold (on cheeses like the Lincoln Log) is more aggressive and so we tend to see less blue there. Either way, we always greet its pretty, patterned arrival as an indication of the changing seasons, and a reminder that, in all cheese-making traditions except for the modern factory, cheese changes along with the seasons, the location, the lactation cycle and feed of the animals, and a host of other environmental factors. Variations in the cheese is a sign we look for to indicate its handmade, Michigan roots – a thing to be celebrated! You could never recreate these cheeses exactly as they are anywhere else!
We invite you to stop in and taste some of the blue-y cheeses with us this time of year – don’t fear: the blue is totally edible and actually quite interesting and tasty! We think blue is beautiful! We hope you will too.