Roquefort Societe Bee
Milk: Sheep, Unpasteurized
Country: France, South Central
Accompaniment: Fruity white, dessert wines, port
Societe Bee is the largest producer of Roquefort in the world ( there are seven producers in all, other famous names are Papillon and Carles) and own the largest cave area in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. This is the only place in the world where Roquefort can be produced.
The mold that gives Roquefort its distinctive character (Penicillium roqueforti) is found in the soil of the local caves. Traditionally the cheesemakers extracted it by leaving bread in the caves for six to eight weeks until it was covered in mold. The bread was then ground to a powder. In modern times the mold can be grown in a laboratory, which allows for greater consistency. The mold may either be added to the curd, or introduced as an aerosol, through holes poked in the rind.
The milk is derived from the Lacaune sheep which graze on the thin, yet rich grass of the Causses in the heart of France. The wheels are aged on oak planks in natural limestone caves for an average of 150 days. The result is a tangy, complex blue cheese with balanced saltiness. Taste sensations range from a mild start, through a sweet phase, to a tangy blue, then a smoky aftertaste and a salty finish.
Please let the cheese get to room temperature. Natural accompaniments are sweet soft fruits, sweet dessert wines or port.