For lovers of stinky cheese, and for cheese lovers of all kinds, last Saturday night in Philadelphia was like being in heaven. Madame Fromage, author of the “DiBruno Bros. House of Cheese” held a Cheese Ball with the most delicious of entrance fees —  a wedge of cheese (along with a $10 donation to help build a cheese cave for Birchrun Hills Farm in Pennsylvania).

It was quite a night. Three hundred and seventy people came through the doors to celebrate cheese and raise a cheese cave. Many guests brought more than one wedge of cheese, and the amount of cheese in the room that night was beautifully obscene.

As a volunteer, I spent much of the night taking cheese donations from guests, opening them in the kitchen, labeling them, and trying to find room on the giant cheese board set up on top of a pool table while removing empty rinds of cheeses that guests had devoured. This photo shows the cheese board mid-evening.

Cheese board at Madame Fromage's cheese party

Aside from the satisfaction I received by volunteering to help a sustainable, family diary farm raise money, I had a first taste of many of the cheeses that came through the doors that night. It was an unexpected perk. There were a few cheeses that really stood out. Dunbarton Blue from Roelli Cheese Haus in Wisconsin, a fourth-generation, family-owned cheese business, was one of them.

Dunbarton Blue is what I would call a gateway stinky cheese, mild enough and delicious enough to entice cheese eaters who say they don’t do stinky cheeses. Roelli’s website describes it as a “cellar cured cheese with the earthy character of a fine English-style cheddar, coupled with the subtle hint of blue flavor.”

When I first tasted the Dunbarton Blue, I experienced a good, strong cheddar and then a surprising, delightful mild blue cheese. Its texture is firmer like a cheddar, not soft like a blue, yet still creamy in the mouth.

I will be adding Dunbarton Blue to many cheese boards that I create, especially when I’m trying to convince non-stinky cheese eaters to expand their palates. 

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