The Real Deal with Blue Cheese

Photo courtesy of about.com. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.
Photo courtesy of about.com. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

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?


8 thoughts on “The Real Deal with Blue Cheese”

  1. Yay!! I LOVE blue cheese! All kinds. I am especially partial to gorgonzola, but I also like Danish blue on salads, probably because of my Danish heritage… thus it is a loyalty thing. Thanks for this post. I will look into adding (carefully selected) blue cheese to my diet again. :)

  2. Yay!! I LOVE blue cheese! All kinds. I am especially partial to gorgonzola, but I also like Danish blue on salads, probably because of my Danish heritage… thus it is a loyalty thing. Thanks for this post. I will look into adding (carefully selected) blue cheese to my diet again. :)

  3. Teresa, most brands of blue cheese that you find in the grocery store are gluten-free (as long as they are made with those scientifically engineered molds). We list a bunch in our Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide, including Alouette Blue Cheese Crumbles, Crystal Farms Gorgonzola, and many, many more!

  4. This news just MADE MY DAY. I LOVE bleu cheese and have missed it immensely since eliminating gluten from my diet. I will be searching for these brands tomorrow !!!!

  5. I’m recently diagnosed and ate blue cheese not even knowing it *could* have gluten. I got really sick and tried so hard to think what I could have eaten. So I started to research blue cheese after ruling out other things I had that day. Some sites say blue cheese is now ok and some say no. Your site gave the most clear answer that it might or might not be. It’s not all yes or all no! Clearly I got some blue cheese made the old fashioned way with bread. I got it at a store that carries a lot of specialty and artisan cheeses.

  6. ALL Blue cheese has been considered gluten free for many years.
    Numerous studies have been done on blue cheese grown on bread cultures, no detectable gluten has been found in the finished product.
    Check with Celiac organizations, they list blue cheese as gluten free.
    Here is a link for reference:
    http://www.celiac.ca/?page_id=1065

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