Are you a fan of the pungent and salty flavor of blue cheese?
Have you ever found yourself wondering how to spell it correctly?
You’re not alone. The spelling of this popular cheese has been a topic of debate for years, with some insisting on the Frenchified “bleu cheese” while others prefer the more traditional “blue cheese.”
But where did these spellings come from, and which one is correct?
In this article, we’ll explore the history of blue cheese and its various spellings, so you can confidently order your favorite cheese without any confusion.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all about how to spell blue cheese.
How To Spell Blue Cheese?
As mentioned earlier, the spelling of blue cheese has been a point of contention for many years. Some argue that the French spelling, “bleu cheese,” is the correct way to spell it, while others believe that “blue cheese” is the traditional and more widely accepted spelling.
Interestingly, the phrase “blue cheese” actually appeared in English before the Frenchified version. The earliest example of the phrase “blue cheese” in the Oxford English Dictionary dates back to an entry in The Torrington Diaries from 1787. It wasn’t until the 20th century that “bleu cheese” began to show up.
Despite this, some still argue that “bleu cheese” is the correct spelling due to its French origins. However, it’s important to note that not all blue cheeses are French. In fact, some of the most well-known blue cheeses come from Italy (Gorgonzola) and England (Stilton).
Ultimately, whether you choose to spell it as “blue cheese” or “bleu cheese” is up to personal preference. Both spellings are widely accepted and understood, so you can confidently order your favorite cheese without worrying about getting it wrong.
The Origins Of Blue Cheese
The origins of blue cheese can be traced back to many centuries BC, where ambient cultures created blue veining in caves. Among the oldest European blues are Roquefort and Gorgonzola, while Stilton is a relative newcomer. However, it is no less important for blue cheese aficionados.
The early blue cheese makers used bread to start the mold and waited for it to spread naturally to the cheese curds. Today, most blue cheeses are either injected with the mold, as with Roquefort, or the mold is mixed right in with the curds, as it is with Gorgonzola, to ensure even distribution of the mold. Most of these cheeses must still be aged in the original caves where they were developed to bear the name.
Blue cheese is a general classification of cow’s milk and/or goat’s milk cheeses with a blue or blue-green mold. The blue mold in these cheeses is due to mold spores from Penicillium roqueforti or Penicillium glaucum, etc. Most blue cheeses are made from whole cow’s milk, but there are also made with ewe’s or goat’s milk.
Some of the best-known blue cheeses include Roquefort (French), Gorgonzola (Italian), Stilton (English), and Lanark Blue (Scottish). These complex blue-veined cheeses are generally ranked as some of the best cheeses in the world. They have a strong flavor and a unique tang that distinguishes them from other types of cheese.
The Evolution Of The Name
The name of blue cheese has also evolved over time. As mentioned earlier, the earliest example of the phrase “blue cheese” in English dates back to 1787. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that “bleu cheese” began to show up, likely due to its French origins.
Interestingly, a French reader of the blog pointed out that “fromage bleu” is rarely used in France. Instead, they typically use “bleu,” “du bleu,” or “bleu de [place where it was made].” This further emphasizes the idea that the French spelling may not necessarily be the most accurate or widely used.
It’s also worth noting that there are many different types of blue cheeses, each with their own unique names and origins. English Stilton, French Roquefort, and Italian Gorgonzola are some of the most well-known and trademarked varieties. However, there are also many other types produced in countries all over the world, including Denmark and the United States.
The French Influence On Blue Cheese
The French have undoubtedly had a significant influence on the production and popularity of blue cheese. Roquefort, a classic blue cheese made from ewe’s milk, is often considered one of the greatest cheeses of France. The designation “Roquefort” is even protected by French law.
Roquefort is one of the oldest known cheeses and was reportedly the favorite cheese of the emperor Charlemagne. In France, it is called “le fromage des rois et des papes” (the cheese of kings and popes). The cheese is widely imitated throughout the world, and its name is used rather indiscriminately on processed cheeses and salad dressings.
True Roquefort is noted for its sharp, tangy, salty flavor and its rich, creamy texture. Today, some authentic Roqueforts are made in Corsica, but all still undergo final aging in the limestone caves of Roquefort near Toulouse in southern France, where the cool and humid atmosphere promotes growth of the mold Penicillium roqueforti.
By French law, only cheese that is processed at Roquefort, France, may be labeled “Roquefort cheese”; other French blue-veined cheeses are called “bleu” cheese. Roquefort is generally formed in 5-pound (2.3-kg) cylinders of about 7-inch (18-cm) diameter and 4-inch thickness.
The Correct Spelling Of Blue Cheese
When it comes to the correct spelling of blue cheese, there is no clear answer. As previously mentioned, both “blue cheese” and “bleu cheese” are acceptable spellings. However, it’s important to note that the phrase “blue cheese” appeared in English before the Frenchified version and has been used for centuries.
Some argue that “bleu cheese” is the correct spelling because it is the French word for blue. However, not all blue cheeses are French, and it’s important to remember that language and spelling evolve over time.
Ultimately, the choice between “blue cheese” and “bleu cheese” comes down to personal preference. Both spellings are widely accepted and understood, so there is no need to worry about getting it wrong. Whether you’re a traditionalist who prefers the English spelling or a Francophile who favors the French spelling, you can enjoy your favorite blue cheese without any spelling-related stress.
Common Misconceptions About Blue Cheese Spelling
There are several common misconceptions about the spelling of blue cheese that have led to confusion and debate among cheese lovers. One of the most prevalent misconceptions is that “bleu cheese” is the only correct spelling due to its French origins. However, as mentioned earlier, “blue cheese” is actually the older and more traditional spelling in English.
Another misconception is that the spelling of blue cheese is indicative of its quality or origin. Some people believe that “bleu cheese” is a higher quality cheese than “blue cheese” or that it can only refer to French blue cheeses. However, this is simply not true. The spelling has no bearing on the quality or origin of the cheese.
Lastly, some may believe that using the French spelling of blue cheese is more sophisticated or cultured. However, this is a subjective opinion and has no factual basis. It’s important to remember that both spellings are widely accepted and understood, so there’s no need to feel pressured to use one over the other.