Country of Origin: Italy
Milk-type: Pasteurized Cow’s milk
Originating in the town of Gorgonzola, part of the greater metropolitan area of the City of Milan, this veined blue cheeses is certainly the most iconic blue cheeses produced in Italy—and easily one of the most famous blue cheeses, worldwide. While the eponymous town’s claim of geographical origin is challenged by some other localities: there is no question that Gorgonzola cheese has been manufactured therein for centuries, acquiring its characteristic marbling of green-blue mold at some point during the 11th century CE.
Carrying both “controlled designation of origin” and protected designation of origin statuses, Gorgonzola is—like genuine Champagne—subject to a strictly regimented process of manufacture, as well as a number of requirements pertaining to the place of manufacture of place of origin of all its ingredients. Although many imitations of it exist, Gorgonzola stands apart as one of the finest soft blues: the consistency is soft, with a creamy mouthfeel, but not runny—slightly crumbly, pleasantly salty, with the distinctive “bite” and yeasty aroma typical of blue cheeses. Gorgonzola has a dense, rich, and full-bodied mouthfeel; the scent is pleasantly pungent, quite bready but also lactic, with hints of buttermilk and cream. The finish is long and steady, with notes of honey and of sour fruit.
Gorgonzola is a popular topping for a number of traditional Italian pizzas; it is often melted into pasta sauce, or crumbled over salads, and is famously consumed by Mr. Bloom of Joyce’s Ulyssesas a part of his lunch of “a glass of Burgundy and a Gorgonzola sandwich”. Try serving Gorgonzola along with salted or candied walnuts, sliced pairs, honey, nectarines, melon, and soft bread.
Beverage Pairings: Effervescent beverages add a pleasant sense of dimension to the complex and fullbodied character of blues; sparkling waters and bubbly soft drinks, especially chinotto or blood orange, pair especially well. If pairing with wine: rich reds such as a Sangiovese; Whites such as Pinot Grigio or Moscato all suit well; or, of course, Burgundy if served with a Gorgonzola sandwich.