Cheese of the Week: Rogue River Blue and Coupole


Rogue Creamery — Rogue River Blue:
DSC00140

So, with the results of the American Cheese Society Competition coming through, it would be impossible not to name Rogue River Blue as a Cheese of the Week. Rogue River just became only the second cheese to win the ACS Best of Show (Pleasant Ridge Reserve has won three times) and, while variety of winners is nice, this cheese is one of the elite American cheeses. It could be named Best of Show every year and it would be hard to squawk about it.

Seasonally made, wrapped in pear brandy-soaked grape leaves, Rogue River Blue is simply a tremendous cheese: Raw milk, sweet, earthy, fruity, grassy, rich and with a perfectly balanced amount of bluing. It’s just amazing; a cheese that you taste and say, “Now I get why people go crazy about cheese.” I was a judge when Rogue River won the first time so – since I wasn’t in Montreal this year – here’s the post I made about that year’s awards ceremony.

Also, it’s a wonderful tribute to Ig Vella’s continuing influence that this wonderful cheese won best of show again.

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery – Coupole
My other cheese of the week is one that we almost always carry. It sells steadily and many people know it well so we don’t push it as much as other, less established cheeses. However, I had a distributor call me with one of those OMG-we-have-too-many-cases-of-this-and-they-are-about-to-expire phone calls so I bought about four times as much as we usually get.

We all know that – much of the time — a distributor’s “about to expire” is a cheesemonger’s “almost perfectly ripe”.

This cheese can get neglected because Bonne Bouche – its sister cheese made by the same company – is stronger, creamier and demands more attention. But the Coupole is just as good in a quieter way. Tangy, lactic, earthy and substantial. It’s a classic ripened goat cheese in a French style (think round mini Bucheron – but with the ropey geotrichum mold that makes it look like a little brain), one of the best examples of its style available in this country. I sampled this out all day on Saturday and heard nothing but love. Sometimes — when you work with cheese all the time – you have to take time to remember the cheese that kind of sells itself.

Hi Coupole. Sorry if you felt unappreciated. You’re awesome and I really like you. I’m sorry I took you for granted.

Edgar98-R1-044-20A
Here is a pantheon of great cheese in the back of our rental car in 2006. (L-r: Franklin’s Teleme, Bonne Bouche, Coupole, and Bijou) I forgot that the Coupole was originally ashed on the outside!

7 responses to “Cheese of the Week: Rogue River Blue and Coupole

  1. Oh man, that Rogue River Blue. I tell ya. Yeah.

  2. I like that a deserving cheese won, and by winning, it also honored the memory of Ig Vella. I’ve been enjoying his Dry Jack Reserve recently. Really looking forward to Raleigh next year. Cheers~

  3. I was one of those people that decided I wasn’t in to blue cheese but tried Rogue River because it was my boss’s favorite. Now I make every single person who comes in to the store saying they hate blue cheese try it. It’ll turn you.

    • Rogue is bonyed the best blue being made domestically–though it was a point of pride to see a small creamery from Maine come in second to this giant this year @ the ACS awards in the blue category.And Coupole is definitely in the shadow of Bonne Bouche but worth seeking out. I had some on some freshly made apple walnut bread and it made for the perfect breakfast.

  4. “Rogue River, the Vampire Lestat of blue cheese”

  5. Rogue is beyond the best blue being made domestically–though it was a point of pride to see a small creamery from Maine come in second to this giant this year @ the ACS awards in the blue category.
    And Coupole is definitely in the shadow of Bonne Bouche but worth seeking out. I had some on some freshly made apple walnut bread and it made for the perfect breakfast.

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