If velvety is a quality you look for in cheese rather than fabric, you need to add Devil's Rock Creamy Blue Cheese to your shopping list. Thornloe Cheese, a dairy based in the northern Ontario town of Thornloe, created the recipe to be a higher-fat, smoother version of their more traditional-style Casey Blue. The goal was a blue that still had some bite, but with its sharpness cushioned in a rich, luxurious texture.
If you tasted it blindfolded, you'd know this Devil was a blue, but you'd find a reserved sharpness instead of the usual aggressive kick. This is not to say the cheese is muted; it has a complexity of flavour ranging from salty to sweet, with an overall tangy freshness. But the creamy texture is what you'll remember - its buttery finish made me think of dessert. Blue cheese cheesecake. And I will admit to eating it with a spoon.
The Devil's Rock has fewer veins than most blue cheese because it is not speared (pierced with a type of metal needle) as many times during production. When oxygen is allowed into a blue cheese's interior via the piercing, it feeds the blue bacteria (p.roqueforti in this case), which develop into veining. For Devil's Rock, less oxygen results in less veining and a tamer blue cheese.
You'll recognize Devil's Rock by its unique pyramid shape and black wax coating. Sold in 200-gram packages, it's perfect for a cheeseboard. Unfortunately, initial batches were shrink-wrapped for ease of handling and the process damaged the wax exterior, but Thornloe is working on alternative packaging. It also now offers 350-gram wheels.
The name Devil's Rock not only hints at the blue's sharp nature, but its angular form pays homage to a well-known geographical marker in the area: Devil's Rock is a granite escarpment that overlooks Lake Timiskaming.
If you've only ventured to the Cambozola border, Devil's Rock could be your next adventure. But be careful, this one is a gateway blue.
On the block
Devil's Rock Creamy Blue Cheese
Origin: Thornloe, Ontario
Milk: pasteurized cow
Producer: Thornloe Cheese
Cheese maker: Martin Melendez
Type: blue, semi-soft, vegetarian friendly (no rennet used), black wax exterior
Shape: 200-gram pyramid
Toronto: Loblaws, Longos, Sobeys, Olympic Cheese, Pusateri's
Newmarket, Ont.: Nature's Emporium
Dundas, Ont.: Mickey McGuire's
London: Smith Cheese
Kitchener, Ont.: Vincenzo's
Ottawa: La Bottega Nicastro
It ships across Canada through www.thornloecheese.ca.
Sue Riedl studied at the Cordon Bleu in London.