When embarking on a gluten-free lifestyle, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by lists of forbidden foods. These include pastas, pastries… the usual suspects derived from wheat, rye, barley, and oats. For years, many have also included blue cheese on the do-not-eat list. (In fact, even our American dining cards warn about gluten in blue cheese.)
But does blue cheese contain gluten?
First, what makes blue cheese blue? Did it wander into a Crayola factory? Does it have some sort of affective disorder (I’d be sad, too, if I were banned by Celiacs)?
Turns out (as most people familiar with a cheese counter already know), cheeses like Gorgonzola, Stilton, and Roquefort get their “blueness” from veins of mold.
Historically, blue cheese did contain gluten. This is because the mold used in the cheese was derived from pieces of rye bread that had been sitting in a cave for a month. However, modern science has rendered this method more expensive and less efficient with the advent of commercially manufactured mold cultures. Most blue cheeses you find in the grocery store are produced using these scientifically-engineered, breadless molds, and are gluten-free!
BUT! Some artisanal cheesemakers continue to produce blue cheeses the traditional way, which is why they remain blacklisted for many Celiacs. When it comes to eating out, where knowing the origin of the cheese in your meal is difficult, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This is why our Triumph Dining cards continue to warn about gluten in blue cheese.
We’d love to hear from you! What is your favorite brand of gluten-free blue cheese?