Roquefort is one of the world’s greatest blue cheeses and is often referred to as the “King of French Cheeses”. Its name and production methods have been protected since 1411. With its rich creamy texture, strong aromas, and lingering sweet-salty finish, these characteristics epitomise the power and refinement of this benchmark cheese.
A little history about Roquefort
The centre of Roquefort cheese production is in the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, located in the Aveyron départment of the Midi-Pyrénées. It has been made for at least 2000 years, but it wasn’t until 1411 that a charter was signed (by Charles VI) giving local cheesemakers the sole right to make Roquefort. In 1961 it was ruled that the cheese could be made in other regions where sheep milk cheeses were common (including Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon and as far away as Corsica), but that ripening or affinage must take place in the famous Combalou caves near the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. The mould that gives Roquefort its distinctive character (Penicillium roqueforti) is found in these natural limestone caves. Traditionally, the mould was cultivated by leaving rye bread in the caves for 6-8 weeks until it was consumed by mould, then grinding the dried bread to a powder that was added to the cheesemaking milk.