I just took a stroll through the cheese caves and beheld some beautiful mold growing on the rinds of some happy cheeses. To think that so many people fear the mold that can develop on the surface of cheese, and worse, that they may suspect that the cheeses have turned bad and have then thrown them out, not even offering them to their dog, much less enjoying the elevated cheese that lies beneath. It is certainly understandable that people may be turned off by the presence of mold growing on or inside of a cheese; it’s the way we were brought up.
It’s even true within the cheese industry itself, we’ve noted. I recall hearing one retailer proudly exclaiming that he sends out the “mold police” each morning to make sure that none of that abhorrent scary stuff is present on any of the cheeses in their display. Oh well, what you can say? We’re inclined to have them send us the mold so that we can add it to our collection. Like sending us flowers.
Not that those molds are necessarily tasty themselves, but what they contribute to a “living” cheese should not be discounted. Sadly, many cheese producers and distributors have decided that it’s not a battle worth fighting – allowing good mold to inhabit their cheeses – and have opted to essentially sterilize their cheeses.
By the way, the moldy old Bijou I tasted yesterday was just lovely, perfectly ripened, a little chalky-textured, creamy flavored with a mild lactic finish. Even the mold itself was pretty tasty.
Dean of Curriculum