Who “invented” Bleu d’Auvergne?
Eureka, Antoine Roussel shouted like Archimedes when he discovered a way to master the creation of Bleu d’Auvergne’s veining. Travelling back in time, we asked him how he developed his famous method for ensuring that the veining was uniform. At first, it was chaos…
So, Mr Roussel, please tell us how you “invented” Bleu d’Auvergne’s veining?
To be honest, I didn’t really invent it, but just “arranged” for it to happen. Where I’m from, each village has its own dairy, and its own cheese, milk production and geographical area.
We had for a long time already known how to make a “Roquefort style” cheese, but our veins didn’t develop in the way we would have liked. They developed slowly and unevenly. I wanted to perfect a cheese with a consistent appearance and quality.
How did you achieve this?
First, I focused on how to make the cheese, particularly its shape. I thought the veining would develop more efficiently if the shape was right. First, I tried moulds made from wood but in the end, I settled for tin plate moulds. Even so, this didn’t solve the problem of the veining’s consistency.
Magical fairy dust …
As you know, I worked in a pharmacy as a young man. I’m not a chemist, but I notice things. I’d realised that in cellars, when rye bread rotted it got a blue mould. So I wondered whether this type of mould could be introduced into cheese to give it more and more uniform veins. I wanted to change a tradition that was rather haphazard into something more rigorous.
And so the modern day Bleu d’Auvergne was born?
Not entirely! I still needed to find a way to perfect a blue powder using bread mould and introduce it into the cheese. We managed to create good veins, but only in the areas where the blue powder had been placed. That’s when I came up with the idea of knitting needles.
A needle to knit blue veining?
No! A knitting needle to quite simply create holes so air could get into the cheese and encourage the development of more uniform blue veining. When I saw that the knitting needle worked well, I created an instrument that had lots of needles that pierced the cheese with many holes around which the blue mould could develop. And that’s how the history of blue cheese started!
Now, your discoveries have set the trend; how do you see things going forward?
With its improved uniformity, Bleu d’Auvergne blue cheese is sure to be a huge success. You will see our cheese sell across the whole of France, maybe even overseas! Our blue cheese’s distinctive taste will win over many fans! We need to find a way to keep the cheese cool but that will happen just like other production methods have been modernised. And who knows? Maybe one day our Bleu d’Auvergne will be recognised with a special designation, some sort of protected designation of origin!