Many people, when asked to name a French blue cheese, will respond with Roquefort. Yes, it's famous, and yes, it's delicious, but there are other blue cheeses made in France that are worthy of notice.

Bleu d'Auvergne is one. The main difference between it and Roquefort (other than being made in different areas of France) is that while the latter is made of sheep milk, bleu d'Auvergne comes from cow's milk. That, of course, affects the taste: Roquefort has a sharp pungency while bleu d'Auvergne - though strong - is creamier and the flavour is softer, gentler and much more approachable. After being curdled, drained, salted and moulded, the wheels of appellation d'origine contrôlée raw milk cheese are inoculated with either Penicillium roqueforti or Penicillium glaucum spores, which cause the blue veining. The wheels are then aged in caves in the Auvergne region for two months or more.

Mons, the fromager affineur ("cheese ager"), recommends serving bleu d'Auvergne with full-bodied red wines or sweet white wines.