Les Causses; France
French AOC status, EU PDO
The great French blue, Roquefort rears its massive head high above the other classic blues of Europe. First, it is the senior, at least in terms of recorded history. We know Charlemagne feasted upon the cheese, loved it, and extended a primitive patent on the cheese to the villagers of Roquefort-sur-Salzon. It also reigns in terms of flavor. The paste of the cheese alone is a masterpiece; Sheep's milk expresses a lingering richness, piquant fruit note, and a smelly, gamey quality. These flavors combined with its saltiness, the mouth-filling mold, and sticky-soft paste make for one of the most flavorful cheeses on earth. Seek out those from the smaller producers, particularly Coulet, Papillion, and Carles.