Two cheeses from the same maker, both blue, one made with cows milk and the other with goat. They might have everything but the milk in common, but these are very different cheeses. The first is strong and tangy and tasty, the second sent me croaking for a glass of water.

Persillé du Beaujolais vache
Raw blue cow cheese, France, bought from Mons

We ate this while watching cricket on the last day of the Ashes, and our cheese-tasting faculties may not have been at their sharpest.

Persille du BeaujolaisThis is a bright bold yellow cheese with big green lumps of veining. It’s reasonably hard, and crumbles as it melts, and has crystallised patches that crunch as I bite into them. It starts off very lemony and bright, followed by more of a spicy blue whomph than I was expecting it to have. The taste is somewhat like a cross between a gorgonzola and a stilton; it’s got the farmyardy earthiness that I associate with a stilton, but the creamier blue-ness of a gorgonzola. The yellowing rind tastes musty and mellower.

Cheese-eating companion fails to make any useful comment on this cheese, but I think that’s the fault of the cricket, not the cheese.

Persillé du Beaujolais Chèvre
Raw blue goat cheese, France, bought from Mons

Blue goats cheese is reasonably rare – I can’t offhand think of another one I’ve tried. I’m interested in seeing how it compares to the cow version. This is a dense, aged-looking blue, greyer and darker than its cows-milk cousin. It’s fairly moist, with huge big pockets of dark greeny-blue veining.

On first scoff I think O DERE GOD MY MOUTH IS BLEEDING. This cheese is spiky and prickly and it feels like I’ve been chewing on a spoonful of needles and pins. (At this point I have to pause and catch my breath, and glug down a pint of water. My voice has turned to a croak, and my eyes have started watering.) This cheese has a relentless pounding BLUE BLUE BLUE-ness. It’s incredibly abrasive, scratchy and scrapy in my mouth, and prickling my throat. It tastes very salty, and very spicy, and also has hints of mushroom and cream, but here, taste seems secondary to sensation.

Towards the rind it mellows out a lot, and gives my tastebuds some relief. I can taste gentle apricot and burned-milk toffee flavours; soft and mellow and sweet, and a good contrast with the centre. Although anything softer than a wire wool brush would contrast well with the centre of this cheese.

An officemate is intrigued by my extreme cheese, tries some, and can still feel it working its prickly magic some time, and a mug of tea, later.

These are both good cheeses, but it’s very hard to compare them; they really don’t have very much in common. The cowsmilk version is a good, strong, tangy blue. Tasty, but normal. The goaty one is bonkers. I loved it, but in the same way I love swimming in icy cold water, or eating raw chillis.