Yes, just like “Red, Red Wine.” I’d serenade it if I could think of something more original than “daze” to rhyme with “haze.” (Note: Hit the adjacent F instead of D the first time and am now onto something. Thank you, universe.)
I first tasted Blue Haze under a clear, fittingly-blue summer sky at the Mill Street Beer Hall. It had just opened and it was my first time there. I obviously wheedled my way into “splitting” (read: racing to devour as much as possible) the cheese board with my boyfriend before deciding on a main. I don’t remember much about the other cheeses that were seated like sultans among the cured meats, garnishes and spreads; I think there was a Manchego-esque block in the bunch. All I remember is the silky, smoldering feeling of falling in love with Blue Haze.
It’s smoky in a welcome, all-encompassing way, almost ashy, “like mould without the edge” (according to my most recent tasting notes) at the rind, where the flavour is most concentrated. It’s sweet and almost tastes hoppy, like beer. The texture is creamy like any run-of-the-mill pâté, but melts like a fine foie gras (which coincidentally, I still don’t like the taste of, despite my best efforts, but which I will eat anyway if you put it in front of me). My notes also say “Milliners underneath”, which I can only assume was meant to be something else but was Autocorrected to “Milliners.” So, thanks for that, Apple. You’ve probably ruined a masterpiece in observation.
It starts out as a blue cheese in Quebec, but earns the faded-yet-defining tendrils of smoke from Provincial Fine Foods in Ontario, where it’s cold-smoked.
“The small amount of heat in the cold-smoking process will crack the cheese,” Cole Snell of Provincial told Fiesta Farms, for a post titled “A Cheese That Will Change Your Life,” natch. “We smoke it for an hour, then vacuum seal and age it for another month to let the smoke really penetrate the cheese. My favourite way to eat it is with honey or chocolate.”
I met Snell when he owned About Cheese (#RIP) in Church Wellesley Village, my first friendly neighbourhood cheese shop. It was there that I first set a cheese budget for myself, indulged in more than my fair share of samples, learned the difference between bloomy rind and Brie, and a lot more, at the hands of Snell. I didn’t know he was a big deal, he was just a maybe-stoned (sorry dude, you’re just so chill) aficionado with a bevy of passion and recommendations. You’ll hear more about Snell on this blog eventually, but for now, suffice it to say the guy knows his sh-t: Honey and chocolate are indeed, the unequivocal best things to eat with Blue Haze. (I humbly suggest maple syrup, too.)
Word to the wise: If you’re going to Google it, be sure to include “cheese” at the end. Go try it now without, and you’ll see why. Suddenly the name makes more sense, yeah? And is more funny? Okay, put down the Blue Haze, you’ve had enough.