Roquefort is an AOP ewes' milk blue cheese from the south of France, and together with Bleu d'Auvergne, Stilton and Gorgonzola is one of the world's best-known blue cheeses. Though similar cheeses are produced elsewhere, European law dictates that only those cheeses aged in the natural Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon may bear the name Roquefort, as it is a recognised geographical indication, or has a protected designation of origin. Roquefort is sometimes known as the "King of Cheeses", a distinction that is also used for the Italian Parmigiano Reggiano, the French Brie de Meaux & Époisses de Bourgogne, and the English Stilton.
The cheese is white, crumbly and slightly moist, with distinctive veins of blue mold. It has characteristic odor and flavour with a notable taste of butyric acid; the blue veins provide a sharp tang. The overall flavour sensation begins slightly mild, then waxing sweet, then smoky, and fading to a salty finish. It has no rind; the exterior is edible and slightly salty. A typical wheel of Roquefort weighs between 2.5 and 3 kilograms, and is about 10 cm thick. As each kilogram of finished cheese requires about 4.5 litres of milk, Roquefort is high in fat, protein and minerals, notably calcium.
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