Bleu d’Causses is a blue cheese made in Peyrelade, a village in the middle of the Gorges du Tarn in the centre of France, on the border of Lozère and Aveyron. This is the same area in which Roquefort is made. In Peyrelade, there are caves aerated by natural chimneys called “fleurines” in which the cheeses are aged. The cheeses are put on oak shelves in the caves and aged 3 to 6 months.
The cheese ends up with a 45% minimum fat content. It is creamy but crumbly, with blue mould veins, with a crust on the outside.
Bleu d’Causses cheeses made in the winter are white inside, with a stronger taste that comes from being aged longer. The cheeses that are made in summer have an ivory colour, and are moister. Winter cheeses are made with raw milk. Milk for summer cheeses is now heated to 155 F (68 C) to reduce the risks of listeria developing in the cheese.
The cheese is made in cylinders 8″ wide by 4″ tall (20 cm x 10 cm), with an average weight of 5 pounds (2.5 kg.) It takes 7 to 8 Imperial quarts (8 to 9 litres) of milk to make 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) of the cheese.
Bleu d’Causses is milder and less expensive than its neighbour and cousin, Roquefort.
1 cup, crumbled = 1/4 pound = 115g
Up until 1925, the cheesemakers aimed to imitate the Roquefort name, even though their cheese was made with cow’s milk (Roquefort is made with sheep’s milk). In 1925, however, Roquefort received exclusive rights to that name, so in 1926 the local cheese markers decided to call theirs “Bleu d’Aveyron”. In 1953 Bleu d’Aveyron got its own AOC, and changed its name to Bleu d’Causses.
Sometimes, with the best of intentions, people who know some French “correct” the spelling to Bleu des Causses. The name, however, is actually Bleu d’Causses.