We all forget that it wasn’t that long ago at all that we couldn’t get unpasteurised soft cheese in New Zealand. In 2007 the ban was lifted to allow imports of Roquefort and before that, in 2002, real Italian parmesan arrived in much applause.
It was a big day at Farro when Roquefort joined the cheese selection. After that, our general manager and turophile Michal Haines was often found at the cheese counter – talking, tasting and cutting cheese; she remembers that time fondly.
“Who wouldn’t be excited? One of the most classic French cheeses was finally available to us and in a place so far away from its origin. We felt it was all about discovery for people. So many of our customers are avid travellers and had been fortunate to sample [Roquefort] when they were in France, but there is something about being on holiday and tasting food that amplifies its beauty tenfold, so it was almost like reintroducing people to the incredible taste in their own environment.”
Roquefort is a blue veined sheep’s milk from the Pyrenees, said to have been created 2000 years ago when a distracted shepherd left his lunch of bread and cheese in one of the many caves in the region. Returning a few months later he found it had been covered by a greyish blue mould. This mould is the key to the cheese’s development and taste. The limestone caves of Combalou are 300m wide but go down four or five levels, creating an amazing environment for mould spores to grow and circulate, thus making it an excellent cheese house.
You can’t rush a good Roquefort. It needs to be mature so the spread of veining can be fully developed through the whole body of the cheese and the spicy strong flavour is at the fore.
Now we offer a range of unpasteurised and pasteurised cheeses in our cut-to-order cheese cabinets, but we never tire of Roquefort.