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The rich blue veins that are beautifully marbled through blue cheeses are indeed mould. The 'blue' culture is a special type of Penicillium mould which is added to the milk before beginning the cheesemaking process. It is perfectly safe to eat and adds a distinctive flavour and aroma to the cheese, much enjoyed by cheese lovers.
The distinctive blue-green veins in blue cheeses feather out from distinctive straight lines inside the cheese. Because of this, many people think that the blue mould is 'injected' into the cheese. Not true! As mentioned above, the blue mould cultures are added to the milk at the very beginning of the cheesemaking process. When the cheese is a few weeks old, there are no blue veins yet visible, as the mould needs air to grow. At this point stainless steel rods are used to pierce the cheese to let air in. When the mould inside the cheese is exposed to air, it gradually grows and spreads, first moving through the spike lines created by the rods then spreading throughout the cheese. The mould turns a beautiful blue/green colour and helps mature the cheese from the inside. Older cheeses will have many more blue veins and the base cheese will be maturing into a crumbly and rich texture.