Roquefort (cheese)

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A slice of Roquefort, close-up
"appellation d'origine protégée" (AOP), the current protective seal for Roquefort cheese

Roquefort is a green and blue marbled blue cheese made from raw sheep's milk , which is produced in the French village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in the barren region of Rouergue in the Aveyron department . Roquefort was awarded in 1925 as the first French cheeses the AOC - Seal , which he protecting a controlled denomination of originenjoyed. From 1996 the protection according to AOC was transferred to the new regulation (EEC) 2081/1992 "for the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and food", which was modified several times. With Regulation (EC) No. 1898/2006, the new logo appellation d'origine protégée (AOP) for EU-wide protected designations of origin was also established to indicate the protection of the designation of origin Roquefort .


Roquefort has a very long tradition : Even the Romans knew roquefort-like cheese, as Pliny the Elder mentioned in 79. Around 1060 the Roquefort is first mentioned under this name in monastery books, in 1411 Charles VI granted it . the inhabitants of Roquefort the monopoly for cheese maturation in limestone caves of the Combalou mountain range in the west of the Cevennes . Its region of origin is located in the department Lozère , Aveyron , Tarn , Aude , Herault and Gard .

In 1842 the cheese cooperative "Roquefort Société sur Choix" was set up under the directorate of A. Massot to protect a corresponding market. As an association of the Roquefort caves and cheese producers, it raised a share capital of 6½ million francs up to 1900 would have. At the Paris World Exhibition in 1900, the cooperative appointed one of the jurors and had its own seal, which was shown on numerous advertising postcards specially produced for the cooperative.

Today Roquefort is so popular around the world that the local Lacaune milk sheep can no longer supply enough milk to meet the demand, which is why the supply area for Lacaune sheep's milk has been expanded and pre-produced cheese can also be sent to Aveyron from the Basque Country and Corsica , so that it can then mature in the caves of Roquefort. As a guarantee, the cheese bears the AOC seal of approval and a red sheep in an oval frame.

In Australia and New Zealand , only heat-treated ( thermized or pasteurized ) dairy products have been allowed to be traded since 1994 , while products made from raw milk are subject to a trade ban due to a possible health hazard. Therefore, the sale of raw milk cheeses, including Roquefort, is also banned in these two countries . The ban continues to apply to New Zealand, but France was able to obtain an exemption from 2005 limited to the Roquefort for Australia.


Legend has it that the manufacture of Roquefort was discovered by accident a long time ago. A young shepherd is said to have seen a pretty girl while grazing his sheep. Since she was running away from him, he put his bread and sheep's cheese, which he carried with him as provisions, in a cool cave and pursued the girl. However, he did not find her and returned to the cave hungry after several days. There he found that the bread and cheese were now moldy. His hunger still forced him to eat the cheese, which was covered all over with blue mold. The shepherd was astonished to find that the cheese tasted extremely delicious. The Roquefort was born.


The production of Roquefort requires great care during ripening. First, the cheese maker pours the morning milk together with the evening milk from the previous day. The mixture is treated with Lab curdled, after being broken parts and ladled into perforated molds, so that the whey expires. A culture of the noble mold Penicillium roqueforti is now added to the cheese .

To produce the cultures, large quantities of rye bread loaves are baked, which must be very dry on the outside and relatively moist on the inside. The loaves are stored until they go moldy from the inside. The mold obtained in this way is pulverized and used for cheese production.

In the French department of Aveyron , the real Roquefort is made only from raw sheep's milk. It is the only blue cheese that can bear this name. Cheese made using the same technique and aged in other caves is called Bleu des Causses and comes very close to real Roquefort.

The cheese remains in perforated clay molds in a ripening room for a week and is regularly turned, then the loaves are brought to the Combalou caves, lifted out of the mold and salted. In order for the fungus to develop, the cheese has to be pricked (“ pricked ”) with needles , a process that is now carried out by machine. Oxygen enters the cheese through the needle channels, which allows the fungus to spread better.

Around three weeks later, the loaves are wrapped in tin foil and brought to darker and cooler parts of the caves for a further three months or longer to ripen.

The vaulted cellars belong to the “Sociéte des Caves” , the community of Roquefort cheese makers founded by farmers in 1842, and have partly remained unchanged since the 17th century. Numerous crevices, known as fleurines , allow fresh air to penetrate. The very even temperatures (7-9 ° C) regardless of the season and the humidity to saturation ensure optimal ripening conditions. Right behind the town of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon there are a total of 17 caves, which stretch over 12 floors up to two kilometers deep through the rock. Each of these caves offers slightly different conditions and produces a subtype of Roquefort with slightly varying degrees of mold growth and taste.

After the end of ripening, the cylindrical cheeses weighing between 2.5 kg and 2.9 kg are halved to visually check the intensity and evenness of the mold. On the basis of the test, the cheeses are divided into different types or quality levels. The finished cheese is wrapped in aluminum foil and given an authenticity seal. Annual production is around 1,600 tons , 80% of which is consumed in France.


The cheese has almost no rind and is sold as a half or quarter cylinder wrapped in tin or aluminum foil . The soft, crumbly dough is white to ivory in color and evenly interspersed with gray-green fungal veins. It has a special milk aroma with hints of nuts and raisins , is piquant and full-flavored with 52% fat in the dry matter . The Roquefort combines four taste qualities - it is salty, bitter (due to the noble mold), sour (due to the fermented milk) and sweet (due to the milk sugar). In June, when there is the first Roquefort of the year, it tastes young and fresh. In autumn it is most piquant and strongest. Cheese made for the domestic market is less salty than exported goods . A crumbly edge and little mold are signs of poor quality. First-class Roquefort has additional names such as Surchoix or Selectionné par la Confrérie des Chevaliers du Taste Fromage de France .


Roquefort is part of a classic cheese platter . It is best enjoyed straight with celery or grapes , but baguettes and pears or black bread and watercress also go well . The cheese stays fresh for a long time, wrapped in foil and stored in the fridge's vegetable compartment . In the warm kitchen, the Roquefort is ideal for all recipes with blue cheese, e.g. B. in the form of Roquefort sauce or for beef fillet steak with Roquefort. The classic drink to accompany Roquefort is port , but a rich red wine such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape , a noble sweet white wine such as Sauternes or a white dessert wine such as Muscat also go well with Roquefort. A Trockenbeerenauslese or a Madeira can also go perfectly with this cheese.


Web links

Commons : Roquefort (cheese)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Regulation (EEC) No. 2081/92 of the Council of 14 July 1992 for the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs
  2. Regulation (EC) No. 1898/2006 of the Commission of December 14, 2006 with implementing provisions for Regulation (EC) No. 510/2006 of the Council for the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs
  3. a b Roquefort. In: All about cheese - cheese from all over the world A to Z. Accessed on November 9, 2019 .
  4. Roquefort: a royal "stinker". In: My France. Retrieved November 9, 2019 .