Americans love cheese. In the last decade alone, per capita cheese consumption is up 13% according to the International Dairy Foods Association. And, as the cheese category grows, it’s also expanding in terms of varieties.
Sure, Americans still eat a lot of American cheese, cheddar cheese and mozzarella, but more adventurous and global taste buds have diversified the category greatly in recent years. For example, blue cheese and Cotija cheese are becoming more popular than ever in the United States, and it’s showing up in demand for these two products.
Bluegrass Ingredients supplies blue cheese and Cotija cheese in two formats: concentrated pastes and powders. They’re great in everything from seasonings and sauces to dips and soups. They’re also great for blending and can easily serve as the core flavor profile in innovative new products. Our Agile Kitchen™ team developed this FAQ on blue cheese and Cotija cheese to help product developers understand the flavor profiles and potential uses for these two cheeses.
The origin of blue cheese is not entirely clear. We know it dates back to ancient times, and we’re pretty sure it occurred alongside the development of Roquefort cheese in France, but specifics beyond that are few. What we do know for certain is that blue cheese is characterized by the blue/green veins running through it. These veins are created by the presence of Penicillium mold, which is added to the cheese during the aging process. The mold gives blue cheese its pungent flavor and aroma, and contributes to its crumbly texture.
It’s easier to trace the origins of Cotija cheese because it was named after the Mexican town of Cotija in the state of Michoacán. Cotija cheese has been a part of Mexican culinary traditions for generations, and it is still a staple in many Mexican dishes today. It is made from cow’s milk and is known for its hard and crumbly texture, as well as its salty and savory flavor.
How do you describe such a unique cheese? Let’s start with the adjectives bold, complex and distinctive. The first impression of blue cheese is often a sharp and pungent tanginess, which is followed by a creamy and slightly crumbly texture that adds to the cheese’s overall appeal. As you continue to savor the cheese, you’ll notice earthy and savory undertones that contribute to its complexity. The aroma of blue cheese is equally distinctive and can be detected from a distance.
The first thing you’ll notice when tasting Cotija cheese is its salty notes. The cheese is often salted during production, which provides a bold and flavorful taste. Alongside the saltiness, Cotija cheese also has a savory/umami flavor, which comes from the fermentation and aging process. Cotija cheese also has a subtle tanginess that balances the cheese’s saltiness.
Consumers love cheesy foods, but let’s be honest, adding cheese to a formula is quite the manufacturing challenge. That’s where Bluegrass Ingredients comes in. We’ve perfected the development of cheese powders and cheese concentrates that are easy to incorporate and provide exceptional flavor, mouthfeel and aroma.
For Cotija cheese, we offer both paste and concentrate formats. For blue cheese, we have an extensive line that includes:
Both powdered and paste formats deliver the dynamic cheesy taste consumers love, and the usage decision between formats comes down to the application and manufacturing environment. When used as a seasoning, powdered blue cheese and Cotija cheese is the ideal format. But in a wet system such as dips, dressings and sauces, paste formats may prove desirable. Contact us and we’ll look at your processes and product and determine the best format for our cheese concentrates.
This strongly flavored cheese is perfect in a variety of applications:
The saltiness of this cheese adds the perfect seasoning to multiple applications:
Yes! Blue cheese especially lends itself to blending with other cheeses. Here are a few ideas.