Certified Cheese Expert and Caputo's Deli owner Matt Caputo tells us what cheese to eat now and why.

The common restaurant salad with bleu cheese has become a love/hate thing for me.
I am not talking about bleu cheese dressing. I am talking about the salads, which in addition to various roughage, will include some sort of roasted veggie or fruit. These can run the gamut between disgusting and transcendently great.

This week, I had two bleu cheese salads representing the ends of this spectrum. The first was at an Italian restaurant that shall remain anonymous because my wife is sitting here threatening me as I write this. It was a touch too acidic but otherwise well seasoned. The problem was the "Gorgonzola" on it was poorly made and heavily polluted with butyric acid, making the already overly tart salad not only challenging but down right bad. 

Butyric acid is a common component of bleu cheese, which happens during the fat breakdown. When not controlled properly it can become the driver of the taste. As butyric acid is what gives human vomit its distinctive smell, you can imagine why this is gross and why many people proclaim not to like bleu cheese. It is especially common in American (or even cheap Italian) Gorgonzola. 

The next night we went out to Em's and I decided I would try my luck again. On the first bite, I instantly recognized the savory burst of Bleu d' Avergne.
A raw milk French cow's milk Bleu. With the pears, walnuts and mixed greens, it was perfectly balanced and appetizing. I confirmed later with Em that it was indeed Bleu d' Avergne from Caputo's. She exclaimed how it was only about $1 more per pound than the cheap stuff from the big guys. 

So, next time you are choosing a bleu for a salad or cheese platter, instead of saving 10 cents per portion, how about serving something that doesn't taste like puke?"