Who's asking: An anonymous Google searcher from somewhere in North America
Mmm, blue cheese. Did you know that blue cheese provides the distinctive flavor of Cheetos® and other delicious puffed cheese snacks? Well, it does. (Which begs the next question: why, then, are cheese puffs orange and not blue-gray? Then again, would you eat a blue-gray snack food? Possibly not.)
Anyway, "blue cheese" is a descriptive phrase that encompasses dozens of different cow's, sheep's or goat's milk cheeses that are made with the Penicillium mold. (Next question: does blue cheese have antibiotic properties? I'm still researching this one, but Civil War surgeons did pack wounds with moldy bread.)
Gorgonzola is one of the oldest of the blue cheeses, dating back to at least the ninth century. Food historians say the distinctive blue mold on Gorgonzola developed accidentally around the 11th century, but was deliberately cultivated after that. (Gorgonzola was, at the time, a village near Milan; now it is part of the Milanese suburbs.)
Most blue cheeses are named after their places of origin: Maytag Blue comes from Iowa, Roquefort and Bleu de Bresse come from France, Stilton and Double Gloucester come from England, and so on.
One food website I found suggested having a blue-cheese tasting party, with port wine and burgundy as accompaniments. This sounds like a great idea to me... we're supposed to get an ice storm tomorrow night, so maybe I'll just stock up for a party of my own. You're welcome to stop by if you can get here.