Updated: Aug 20
...a journey through the Colors of Provence!
This week, we highlight the Blues of the region. From the deep turquoise of Lac de Sainte Croix (pictured above) and the sapphire of the Bay of La Ciotat to the azure of the sky after the mistral has swept the clouds away, the variations of Blue are astounding in the Provence light.
Besides being the color of the Mediterranean Coast (Cote d'Azur) or the crystal clear skies after the intense mistral winds that blow south from the Massif Central, Blue is found in the cuisine of France. For example, if you like your steak very rare, you'd tell the server in a French restaurant that you'd like your steak "bleu." Likewise, at the end of your meal, a server will offer you a beautiful platter of assorted cheeses from which you might take a morsel of "bleu" with a bit of butter and chunk of mouthwatering bread.
Le fromage bleu, or Roquefort, is a famous "blue cheese" that is made from sheep's milk and the penicillium roqueforti. The marbled veins of this pungent and salty cheese come from an infusion of mushroom in the cream. Traditionally, it must age for at least 5 months in the caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzonwith to develop its creamy and salty taste.
Known as the "the Cheese of Popes and Kings," Roquefort was once the favorite cheese of Emperor Charlemagne. It is protected by the strict guidelines of l'appellation d'origine controllee (AOC) which regulates and supports the traditional characteristics of many of France's agricultural products, especially cheese, butter, and wine.
Roquefort is a cheese typically used in salads or sauces. This month, I've added a recipe for each to my collection online: Salade aux Escaroles et au Roquefort and Pork Scallopini with Roquefort Sauce. Give them a try and let me know what you think!