Pavé Bleu

Pavé Bleu: France’s most elusive cheese

Forget Roquefort, Bleu d’Auvergne and Fourme d’Ambert. I’ve found a new blue cheese to try: Pavé Bleu. Trouble is, I can’t find it anywhere.

I wouldn’t mind but it’s produced not far away. It comes from Le Quesnoy, south-east of Lille in the Nord département.

The cheese was created in 2013 at the town’s agricultural college using milk from the local Bleue du Nord cow. It came about thanks to some EU funding from the Interreg programme for a project in northern France and neighbouring Belgium.

The aim was to encourage farmers to raise this breed of cow, which had been in decline for the past 70 years or more and was at risk of dying out. By making a cheese from its milk, voilà, you have demand for the cow too.

Measuring about 8cm across and about 4cm high, the cheese is soft and creamy and comes with a grey-blue bloom on the outside. It is pierced 29 times to generate its signature blue-grey flecks inside.

“Such has been the success of Pavé Bleu that college chiefs say they could give up producing any other cheeses”

The cheese is generally understood to be the only blue cheese from Hauts-de-France. (The country’s other well-known blue cheeses are from further south: Roquefort is made in Occitanie, and Bleu d’Auvergne and Fourme d’Ambert are both from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.)

The problem, however, is in the supply, not the demand. Just 240 Pavé Bleu cheeses are made each week at present.

Getting the blue right is tricky to master, apparently.

Such has been the success of Pavé Bleu that college chiefs say they could give up producing any other cheeses. To get hold of one, it’s advised to go to the college shop directly.

Trust me, despite it being 70km away, I haven’t ruled that out as a possibility.


Photo: Stéphane Dubois, director of the farm at the lycée in Le Quesnoy, © Lycée agricole du Quesnoy

This entry was published on Sat, 24 Feb 2018 at 09:04. It’s filed under Food and wine and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

8 thoughts on “Pavé Bleu: France’s most elusive cheese

  1. I would love to try this though it seems unlikely that I will get the chance for the moment but from little seeds do might oak trees grow and with the demand exceeding supply I will hope that it goes from strength to strength and production increases exponentially over time. Meanwhile, I find myself drawn to the map to see if a detour the next time I drive north is viable … such is the lure of good cheese chez moi!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ..have you tried Lidl….ha ha! Nom nom nom…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Let me know when you find the cheese it sounds delicious

    Liked by 1 person

  4. yes indeed good cheese we always eat when visiting family in the area. Le Quesnoy is very nice fortress ruins as well from a fortified period. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ah there you go, is a mix Belgian and nord cheese to revive a race of cows, it is produce here lycée agricole de Le Quesnoy which is an agricultural school ,they have it

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