Like all great cheeses, Roquefort has a legend. A young boy was resting at the opening of a cave eating his lunch of bread and cheese when he saw a beautiful girl. He was captivated and ran to meet her. When he returned several months later, his cheese had turned into Roquefort.
There is one small grain of truth in the legend. To meet the strict standards of the AOC guidelines, only Roquefort that has been aged the Mont Cambalou Caves can be called Roquefort. Traditionally it was a mould present in the soil of these caves that gave the cheese its deep green veins, although nowadays this mould is produced in a laboratory for greater consistency.
This ‘cheese of kings and popes’ has a rich, creamy and moist texture that easily crumbles, a notable aroma and a flavour that is at first mild, then sharp, tangy and salty. Unlike many semi soft cheeses, Roquefort has no rind and the exterior is edible and slightly salty. The cheese has an important role in classical French cuisine being a key ingredient in many salads, dressings and sauces.
Roquefort is best bought in small quantities but it can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks after being wrapped loosely in parchment paper, then sealed in plastic wrap.