January 24, 2009


Are Blue Cheeses Gluten Free?

Not too long ago I wrote a post about eating at Bonefish Grill.  I chose one of the specialty items that evening which was topped with Gorgonzola cheese.  A reader questioned the gluten-free status of Gorgonzola and I had not come up with a sufficient answer until today.

I have subscribed to Gluten-Free Living magazine for many years, and it has been a valuable source of information.  Today I came across my back issues and decided to flip through them.  I’m glad I did because the Jan./Feb. 2001 issue had the cheese answer I was looking for!  In response to a reader’s question about cheeses, Jacqueline Mallorca quoted the Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins, one of the foremost cheese experts in the country.

“Originally the blueing of Gorgonzola (and other blue cheeses) occurred naturally.  The instigator was a mold that lurked on the walls of the damp, drafty Valsassin caves…These days, the demand for Gorgonzola has propelled its production into the modern age of cheese making.  For the last 40 years, the cheeses have been pierced with copper or stainless steel needles and the resulting fissures allow oxygen to enter and nourish a commercially manufactured mold-producing bacteria called Pennicillium gorgonzola.  In fact, virtually all commercial blue cheeses are made in this way.”

Mallorca then goes on to say that celiacs can eat all blue cheeses except Roquefort which has mold introduced on moldy rye bread.

I hope this information is helpful to some of you.  If you are not familiar with Gluten-Free Living magazine, you will find some useful information at their web site and even more in their magazine.


Thanks for this. I am just tagging all my relevant blog posts with a "gluten-free" tag, and I was wondering if the pumpkin-gorgonzola flans were gluten-free. You're a great help! :-)

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