There are several brand names of Italian blue cheese, although not all are available for purchase everywhere in the world. While some brands can be found in the supermarket, others are limited to specialty shops and can only be found in certain regions. If you're looking for an excellent Italian blue cheese, the region where you live will probably be the deciding factor in whether you can pick the cheese up at Whole Foods or whether you'll be better off ordering it online. Luckily, the Internet has made obtaining fine cheeses possible for all those who live in regions where delis and specialty supermarkets are a rarity.
Gorgonzola Blue Cheese
While gorgonzola is probably the word that comes to mind when one thinks of Italian blue cheese, gorgonzola is not a brand of blue cheese, but rather a genre of cheese wherein there are several different types. The different types have different flavors and textures, ranging from a mild flavor to a very strong, almost overpowering flavor, and from a soft, creamy texture to a harder, crumbly texture.
Gorgonzola is most often made from whole cow's milk, but is sometimes also made from goat's milk. Generally speaking, the milk used to make gorgonzola has been pasteurized before cheese is made from it; however, it is always a good idea to check each brand/maker before purchasing a blue cheese if, for any reason, you cannot have cheeses made from nonpasteurized milk. Note too that different gorgonzolas have different flavors, which are partly a function of how long the cheese is aged; the average length of aging for gorgonzola is three or four months.
Brand Names of Italian Blue Cheese
Many brands of gorgonzola exist, as well as brands who make other varieties of Italian blue cheese. Of course, if you are visiting Italy you will encounter a wide selection of locally-produced Italian blue cheese. Lombardy and Piedmont in particular, are known for producing excellent Italian blue cheeses. If you don't happen to be in Italy at the moment, the following brand names of Italian blue cheese are available to order online or to pick up at specialty food stores.
This Italian blue cheese brand makes a few varieties of gorgonzola widely available. Offering Gorgonzola Dolcé and Mountain Gorgonzola, Il Giardino makes it possible to satisfy a craving for Italian blue cheese whether you crave a soft and sweet variety (Dolcé) or a heady, crumbly blue (Mountain). Il Giardino cheeses are available at many specialty food shops.
Arnoldi also offers a few different types of gorgonzola. They market their version of Gorgonzola Dolcé as being mild and sweet, and their Gorgonzola Piccante as strong and spicy. The two different varieties can satisfy many palates. Arnoldi cheeses are available online at The Gourmet Food Store.
Taddei makes a blue cheese much less widely known than gorgonzola, which is called Strachitunt. This cheese is considered to have both a sweet and a sour flavor all at once. This cheese is also available at The Gourmet Food Store.
Blu del Monviso
This small brand makes a blue cheese from the Piedmont region of Italy and markets the flavor of the cheese as being similar to other brands' Gorgonzola Dolcé. A small brand, this cheese can be harder to find, but many gourmet lovers claim it's worth the search!
Italian Blue Cheese Recipes
Once you have your fix of Italian blue cheese, try some of these tasty recipes to bring out the various flavors of blue cheese:
- Fig & Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms: An excellent appetizer option
- Blue Cheese Pasta Sauce: What better Italian combination than pasta and gorgonzola cheese? What's more, this sauce requires no cooking, so you can have it on the table in no time!
- Blue Cheese, Pear & Raspberry Salad: A delectable salad recipe; perfect combination of salty, sweet, and blue cheese tang.
Blue cheese is also common in France and in England, and there are now brands that make blue cheese in America, such as Maytag blue cheese. Blue cheeses are made in several places, but each regional variation is slightly different, and the Italian blue cheeses are loved the whole world over.