Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bleu de Gex AOC/AOP – One of the Jura’s Most Famous Cheeses. Bleu de Gex on French Menus.

from
Behind the French Menu
by
Bryan G. Newman
   

Blue de Gex.

The taste and texture of Bleu de Gex Cheese.
 
Bleu de Gex AOP is a mild, blue, 50% fat, creamy, but slightly crumbly, ivory colored, cows’ milk cheese made with unpasteurized milk. The cheese has a yellowish to brown rind, greenish-blue veins and has an earthy smell with a slightly nutty taste. It is a medium to mild blue cheese and aged for at least 21 days before being sold.

The Bleu de Gex has a French language website which may be viewed in English using the Bing or Google translate apps.


The other names of the Bleu de Gex cheese.
  
Bleu de Gex was the first cow’s milk blue cheese to be awarded a French AOC so you may correctly assume it is one of best blue cheeses. The official name of this cheese is Blue du Haut Jura AOP, but it also called Le Bleu de Septmoncel AOP while the name the Blue de Gex (pronounced ble de j-ex) is the name used most often. The different names relate to tradition and the cheese’s history.
   

A wedge of Blue de Gex

The French department of Jura in the Jura Mountains.
 
The cheese is made in the higher parts of the department of Jura, the Haut Jura, in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. The Jura Massif, the mountains, is north of the Alps and the department borders Switzerland and is, somewhat obviously, named after the Jura Mountains. Confusion can arise as apart from the French department of Jura, there are the French-Swiss Jura Mountains and there is also a Swiss canton called Jura.   N.B. The French department of Jura and the Swiss Canton of Jura are close but do not have a shared border.  (The regions of Bourgogne, Burgundy, and the Franche-Comté were combined into one super region called Bourgogne-Franche-Comté on 1-1-2015. The number of regions in mainland France was reduced from 22 to 13 on that date. In many respects, France’s regions are similar to USA States and British Counties.  The government hopes the reduction of bureaucracy will bring significant savings for the taxpayers; we shall see!). 
   

Aging Bleu de Gex Cheeses.

The area where Bleu de Gex cheese is made.

Bleu de Gex is only made in small traditional dairies and farms where the cows are milked or in small co-operative dairies in the Haut Jura. The milk used for this cheese comes from Montbeliarde or Pie Rouge de l’Est cows only.  The cows graze freely in the summer on the grasses, herbs, and flowers in the Jura mountains and that produces their particular milk that makes this unique cheese. In the winter the cows are fed hay collected from the grasses, herbs, and flowers in the same area where they feed in the summer. Some of the Bleu de Gex cheese comes from over the departmental border in the department of Daubs. The calves are all raised by their mothers, and no antibiotics or growth hormones are permitted.

The Jura is famous for its cheeses and wines.
   
The Jura is known for many excellent cheeses apart from the Bleu de Gex, especially its five-star Comté AOP cheese, its Morbier AOP, and Mont d’Or AOP cheeses. The Jura is also famous for its Vin Jaune, yellow wine, as well as its Vin de Paille, the so-called straw wine, and for its Macvin, a fortified wine, mostly consumed as an aperitif.


Tarte au Bleu de Gex et aux Poires
A tarte made with pears and Bleu de Gex.

Bleu de Gex on French Menus:

Terrine de Lapereau au Bleu de Gex – A hare pate prepared with the Bleu de Gex cheese. (Hare in France are farm raised).

Salade d’Endive et Poire au Bleu de Gex, Cerneaux de Noix et Abricots Secs – A salad with endives, pears, Bleu de Gex cheese, walnuts and dried apricots.
   

Bleu de Gex.

Faux-Filet Au Bleu De Gex – In the USA this may be called a Strip Steak, a Kansas City Strip or a Delmonico while In the UK this would be a UK sirloin steak.  (The UK and US sirloins are different cuts).
 
Suprême De Poulet Fermier Au Bleu De Gex – Breast of farm raised chicken served with a sauce made with Bleu de Gex cheese.

Tarte Fine Au Bleu De Gex Et Aux Poires  - A tart made from a disk of puff pastry covered with pears and Bleu de Gex cheese.
   

Enjoy the cheese.

Salade De Chêvre Chaud Et Bleu De Gex Chaud  -  A salad made with warm goat’s cheese and warm Bleu de Gex cheese.
 
Where Bleu de Gex began.

The cheese has been made in the area since the 13th century when it was created by the monks of the Abbey of Condat. The original abbey was founded in the 4th century C.E. and would, in the 17th century, take on the name of the village of Saint-Claud and became the Abbey of Saint-Claude.  The town of Saint-Claud is 58 km (36 miles) from the departmental capital of the Jura called Lons-le-Saunier and is 82 km (51 miles) from Geneva, Switzerland, and 101 km (63 miles) from Lake Annecy. In the winter the area is a skier's playground.
  

Skiing in the Jura.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/121036654@N04/15965411132/

The history of the Pays de Gex.

The Pays de Gex means the Land of Gex and changed hands between Switzerland and France many times. In 1815, after the final exile of Napoleon I with the Treaty of Paris, the Pays de Gex was divided between France and Switzerland. The Swiss part of the Pays de Gex is now the northwestern part of the Canton of Geneva.
   

Part of the Montbéliard production team
https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomislavmedak/32445375772/
  
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Bryan G. Newman
 
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2017.
  
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman
at
behindthefrenchmenu@gmail.com