Blue cheeses are often bundled together in one taste category – extraordinarily strong cheeses best kept for last. While the penicillium mold used in blue cheese do tend to strengthen the taste, each blue cheese is unique, and there’s a blue cheese to suit most cheese lovers.

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What is a blue cheese?

Blue cheese’s name comes from the tasty blue spots found inside the cheeses. These blue spots are blooms of a tiny mushroom, called penicillium. During the blue cheesemaking process, penicillium is mixed with the curd, and grow during the maturation process, in a controlled environment. The result is these delicious blue mold spots. Often the cheese has to be pierced in order to bring oxygen into the cheese to let the blue mold (mushroom) grow. Penicillium roqueforti is the best-known type of penicillium used in blue cheeses, but some other penicilliums are used in cheesemaking, such as penicillium glaucum, for other blue cheeses, and penicillium camemberti, for Camembert and some goat cheeses. Brie has penicillium candidum for its white mold.

A blue cheese for every cheese lover?

While penicilliums used in blue cheese are typically strong, there is a wide range of blue cheeses. At the least piquant end, Saint Agur is a double crème blue cheese, with an intense fruity taste. This mellow cheese balances the strong taste of the mold with the fruitiness of its cream, making it a popular mouth-watering blue cheese. Rogue’s Smokey Blue is a more complex blue cheese. The smoking process makes it less creamy, and infuses it with the flavor of hazelnuts, honey, and apples, for a spicy-sweet experience. Blue cheese is also very versatile in cooking, and Chef Greg will introduce you to the many ways you can garnish a blue cheese platter to complement a blue cheese’s taste. If you need guidance about what blue cheese is right for you, take our cheese quiz, to find a blue cheese that suits your tastes.