Early this spring, when clover, rye, native fescue, timothy and orchard grasses began to grow in Rogue Creamery’s Southern Oregon pastures, the artisan cheesemaker says it deemed conditions perfect to make its organic Flora Nelle Blue. After two months’ aging, the cheese is returning as a seasonal spring release. It’s the first time in five years that the Rogue Creamery has crafted this unique recipe.
The flavors of the dense, savory blue cheese are best expressed with milk gathered this time of year, says David Gremmels, president of Central Point, Ore.-based Rogue Creamery. Gremmels and former partner Cary Bryant developed this cheese 10 years ago in honor of their grandmothers, Florence and Nelle. The recipe was inspired in part by traditional blue cheeses from France.
“Taken by the consistency of Bleu de Gex and the flavor of Bleu d’Auvergne, I combined the recipes and created an American original that is a tribute to our families,” says Gremmels.
Flora Nelle Blue was made in February and cave-aged for 60 days. Similar to Rogue Creamery’s year-round classic Caveman Blue, organic Flora Nelle has a natural rind, Rogue Creamery notes. In addition, it is the only Rogue Creamery cheese made with traditional rennet.
These techniques provide the cheese with a unique texture and a robust, umami-forward flavor profile, the company says. The wheels also showcase beautiful and distinctive blue marbling, making this cheese a stunning addition to a spring cheeseboard, in a mixed green salad, or atop a filet.
“Each year, we select a couple recipes to bring back in order to satisfy the palates of our cheese-loving friends,” says Gremmels. “This spring was Flora Nelle’s turn. We’re delighted to share this unique cheese with our customers and the community.”
The 2022 Flora Nelle Blue release is very limited; the cheese is being offered for direct sale only, through RogueCreamery.com and in-person at the company’s cheese shop and farm stand in Southern Oregon. Rogue Creamery says it anticipates the cheese will sell out before the end of May.