Think of Italian cheeses, and a multitude of varietals with intricate structures, textures, tastes and flavours emerge before us. Amidst this fanfare, the blue-veined gorgonzola stands out for carrying a long-standing legacy. When we say ‘blue cheese’, it’s the pale yellow hued gorgonzola, made from cow’s milk and enmeshed with blue streaks, which commands instant recall.
‘’If you want to start on with blue cheeses, it is best to start with the gorgonzola, as it is neither too strong, nor too intense, or sharp in taste”, says Mohammed Eliyaz, Chef de Cuisine, JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru. We asked Chef Eliyaz, a powerhouse of knowledge on Italian cuisine, to bring out a few unique pairings with the gorgonzola. He believes the gorgonzola is one versatile cheese. It can be consumed in a variety of ways; as a key component of an appetizer, a main or a dessert; and also get paired with wine in order to experience its unique taste and flavour.
“You can relish the gorgonzola as part of a cheese platter, or with walnuts, or when rolled with grapes; as also when spread across crostini, or as a sauce with pickled veggies,” says Chef.
When it comes to mains, Chef Eliyaz has used the gorgonzola in a fondue form atop beetroot risottos. ‘’You can finish off pastas with the gorgonzola, make ravioli with it and use it to finish risottos.’’
The blue cheese is lavishly used in desserts as well. A juicy pear and gorgonzola combination is manna from heaven. The freshness and sweetness of the pear, combined with its crunchy texture, subtly compliments the saltiness, sharpness and creaminess of the cheese. ‘’You can poach a pear with saffron, core off the internal part, fill it with gorgonzola, bake it in the oven for a few minutes, and cherish the myriad textures and flavours with a scoop of ice-cream,” says Chef.
But, if you want to have just plain good gorgonzola, a glass of off-dry or sweet Riesling with its fruity flavours superbly complements the cheese. So does a glass of earthy and fruity Pinot Noir.
Cheers to the gorgonzola, to good food and good life!