The circumstances surrounding the discovery of Roquefort are the subject of legend and history. The earliest legend has it that a shepherdess left her lunch of cheese curd and rye bread in a cave, and when she returned to find it weeks later, she discovered Roquefort cheese. The Roman historian Pliny (23-79 AD) wrote of a cheese from a mountainous region of France near the Mediterranean that might have been Roquefort, and it is reputed that even Charlemagne himself was served Roquefort at the monastery of St. Gall in 778.
Many blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton are, like wine, a protected designation of origin, meaning they can bear the name only if they have been made in a particular region in a certain country. Similarly, individual countries have protections of their own such as France's Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée and Italy's Denominazione di Origine Protetta.
Today most blue cheeses (bleu cheese) are either injected with the mold, as with Roquefort, or the mold is mixed right in with the curds, as it is with Gorgonzola, to insure even distribution of the mold. Most of these cheeses must still be aged in the original caves where they were developed to bear the name.
Mild blues love the company of light fruity white wines while the piquant blues prefer a robust, spicy red. Semi-sweet or sweet wines such as Cavernet, Zinfandel, Chardonnay or Sauvigon Blanc complement the salty taste of Blue Cheeses.
View video of the burial of a 70kg Roquefort