With a creamy mouthfeel laced with the delicate crystalline texture of a light blue cheese, Cambozola is a crowd-pleasing chameleon of the cheese plate and charcuterie board. Cambozola can appeal to both lovers of yielding gooey Camembert and aficionados of the dark veins of nuttiness in Gorgonzola, making it a well-rounded presence on cheese boards and holiday platters alike. Whether you’re new to the world of blue cheese or you’re looking for fresh charcuterie board inspiration, a little extra knowledge about Cambozola can go a long way when serving – read on for our best tips on buying, storing, and pairing to take your charcuterie board to the next level.
What Is Blue Cheese?
Before you start mapping out your charcuterie board, it’s helpful to know a little background: Cambozola draws inspiration from two storied cheeses — French Camembert and Italian Gorgonzola. It has been produced in Allgäu, a region in the south of Germany, for four decades and is a classic soft ripened triple-cream cheese. The cheese is pre-ripened and aged from the outside in by spraying with cultures to produce a white bloom on the edible rind, then wrapped carefully before selling. Streaked sporadically throughout the inside of the cheese are blue veins produced using similar cultures to a Gorgonzola, albeit with a much milder flavour. Some varieties, such as the premium Cambozola Black Label cheese, are matured in cold storage to produce a distinctive grey bloom on the rind and a fuller sweeter flavour with finer blue veins and a more robust aroma.
What to Look for When Buying Cambozola
When you’re looking to buy Cambozola at the grocery store or cheesemonger’s, make sure that the cheese has been stored in a chilled case or display, with its shape and packaging relatively intact. Similar to other soft-rind cheese such as Brie and Camembert, the cheese should not have an ammonia-like odour — a sign that the cheese is past its prime. The interior of the cheese should be creamy white or yellow, with blue veins running throughout. You don’t need to poke at the cheese to check maturity: in fact, soft-ripened cheese matures from the outside inwards, so a yielding exterior isn’t a good indicator of the cheese’s core.
How to Store Blue Cheese
Once you get your cheese home, a little bit of care will really help in preserving the delicate flavours and textures so that it can shine on your charcuterie board. The best place for your Cambozola is the vented airiness of your refrigerator’s vegetable crisper, which allows circulation around the cheese (just be sure not to pile bags of onions or heavy, cheese-flattening produce on top of it by mistake). Resist the urge to store leftovers in sealed, air-tight containers — letting the cheese breathe is essential to maintain its aroma and texture. Either splurge on fancy cheese paper or use waxed or parchment paper for optimal cheese storage.
How to Serve Cambozola
When served cold, cheese hides its beautiful aroma and flavours. The old adage of taking your cheese out of the fridge a half hour before serving holds true here as well: serving Cambozola at room temperature allows its aroma and the silken texture to shine. Don’t forget to take it out of its wrapping as well: just like decanting a fine wine before consuming, the bouquet of cheese needs time to develop in the open air. Make sure you’ve got the right cutting implement to help keep the cheese neat when serving: Cambozola’s clingy texture demands a serrated knife edge (if you own a fancy two-pronged cheese knife, now’s the time to break it out).
Related: Advice From a Cheese Master: How to Buy, Store and Eat Cheese
Building a Better Charcuterie Board
The luscious palate-coating creaminess of Cambozola pairs well with a wide variety of textures and flavours, depending on which side of its double identity you want to take centre stage. The subtle blue elements lend themselves to classic pairings with blue cheese — salty bacon or toasted nuts, sweet, chewy dried or fresh figs or crisp pears. Or, lean into the rich triple-cream notes and smear the soft cheese across crunchy baguette with pieces of cured meats such as spicy Calabrian salami or aged prosciutto as part of a simple, but elegant, charcuterie board (Cambozola serves as an excellent bridge between creamy soft cheeses and deeper blues). Add interesting textures and a variety of salty, sour and sweet elements such as tiny cornichons, jams or fruit spreads, mustard and honey for drizzling. Cambozola’s charcuterie pairing potential is endless, and you can find more great combinations here.
Other Delicious Cambozola Food Pairings
If you’d like to add another element to your lavish spread, Cambozola is also an excellent melting cheese for cooking, lending a gilded backbone to superlative grilled cheese sandwiches, mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. It can even dress up a better than boring burger (for a slightly different take, lay thick slices across a bison burger just after it comes off the grill). Stir it into a fondue for a mysterious je ne sais quoi, a sauce for steak, or to give an omelette an oozy centre. Consider using its creaminess to full advantage in cheese balls or a ham and cheese quick bread. Don’t forget your vegetables, either: Cambozola makes an excellent garnish to simply steamed asparagus (a mixture of green and white is especially nice).
Try this recipe: Bison Burgers with Cambozola Cheese
Best Drinks to Pair with Blue Cheese
The finishing touch on any great charcuterie board is the perfect drink pairing, and when it comes to beverages, Cambozola is also easily dressed up or down. For everyday enjoyment, semi-dry Rieslings and sweet wines such as Sauternes or Gewürztraminers would pair well, or make a splash with an aged port or champagne. Beer lovers could pour a dark stout or strong ale to complement the rich cheese. Sparkling water or carbonated citrus-based beverages would have much of the same palate cleansing effect.