'Gorgonzola' vs 'Blue Cheese': What's the Difference?

By Katie Moore, updated on October 20, 2023

‘Gorgonzola’ vs ‘Blue Cheese’: What’s the difference? This article will take us out of the English classroom and into the kitchen, offering you a chance to learn vocabulary from a new area. Don’t worry, though — we won’t make it too cheesy. 

Are you in a rush? Here’s a quick look at what’s to come:

  • ‘Gorgonzola’ is a word that refers to a rich Italian cheese
  • ‘Blue Cheese’ is a generic term for any cheese with blue streaks in it

What’s the Difference Between ‘Gorgonzola’ vs ‘Blue Cheese’?

Interestingly, the difference between these two terms is more of a big picture vs smaller picture distinction rather than two totally separate entities. It turns out that ‘Blue Cheese’ is a category under which ‘Gorgonzola’ falls.

What makes ‘Gorgonzola’ its own entity is that it’s softer and milder than other ‘Blue Cheeses.’ Also, note that all cheeses have their own origin stories and rich cultural history, so we are not implying that ‘Gorgonzola’ is more special than other ‘Blue Cheeses.’ We simply want to clarify the difference between the two since they are often confused. 

One way to remember that ‘Gorgonzola’ is different is to use clues within the word itself to keep it separate.

  • For example, most ‘Blue Cheese’ is more intense tasting than ‘Gorgonzola,’ so we can use the ‘g’ at the beginning of the word to remind us of ‘g’ as in “gentle” since ‘Gorgonzola’ is more mild and creamy. 

Now that we have a basic understanding of these two terms let’s take a closer look individually at ‘Gorgonzola’ vs ‘Blue Cheese’.

Definition of ‘Gorgonzola’: What Does it Mean?

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Gorgonzola’ is a noun that means:

  • A type of rich, strong-flavored Italian cheese with bluish-green veins
    • “He loved gorgonzola on his salad.”
  • A veined PDO Italian blue cheese made from unskimmed cow’s milk

Origin of ‘Gorgonzola’

The word ‘Gorgonzola’ comes from the town of the same name, Gorgonzola, in northern Italy, where the cheese is from. 

Local legends say that the cheese was made by accident when a young cheesemaker got distracted by his lover and accidentally left the cheese curds draining overnight, which made a nice home for some mold spores. To hide his mistake, he mixed the moldy batch with a good one, and after pressing and aging the cheese, he discovered the tasty blue streaks. 

‘Gorgonzola’ is known for its earthy flavor due to the aging process, and its cow's milk origin also gives it a salty taste. This type of cheese is typically aged for three to four months, giving it a creamier texture than other blue cheeses. 

Definition of ‘Blue Cheese’: What Does it Mean?

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Blue Cheese’ is a noun that means:

  • A cheese marked with veins of bluish-green mold that is made from any animal’s milk, including cow, goat, and sheep
    • “She hated the smell of blue cheese.”
  • Cheese containing veins of blue mold, such as Gorgonzola or Danish Blue
  • (slang term) someone who is absolutely terrible at what they do
    • “Words can’t describe how bad he is, so we call him Blue Cheese.”

Origin of ‘Blue Cheese’

As expected, the term ‘Blue Cheese’ comes from the blue-colored veins of mold that run through this group of cheeses. ‘Blue Cheese’ is specifically made with Penicillium, the type of mold that’s responsible for its color, smell, and unique flavor. Fear not, though; Penicillium is not a harmful mold and is, therefore, safe to make food with.

The first-ever ‘Blue Cheese’ was also said to have been made by accident, when a distracted shepherd forgot his lunch of cheese and bread inside a cave in Roquefort, France, in the 7th century. Oxygen got into the cheese, and when the shepherd found it a few months later, it had turned blue yet retained its flavor. 

Here is a list of the most popular ‘Blue Cheeses’ and what to pair them with:

  • Castello Double Creme Blue: best with honey, grapes, and red wine
  • Gorgonzola: best with grapes, honey, and pistachios
  • Roquefort: best with apples, red wine, and walnuts
  • Blue Stilton: best with honey, walnuts, and sliced apple
  • Castello Traditional Danish Blue: best with fresh pear, citrus fruit, and walnuts

Pronunciations: How to Pronounce ‘Gorgonzola’ vs ‘Blue Cheese’

Since you may not only encounter these foods in recipes but in grocery stores as well, we want to make sure you can discuss them in person. Follow the guides below to learn how these words are properly pronounced so you feel confident saying them aloud

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Gorgonzola’ as a guide:

  • ‘Gor-gun-zo-luh’ (the vowel in the second and fourth syllables are both flat, sounding like the word “fun”)

Use this phonetic spelling of ‘Blue Cheese’ as a guide:

  • ‘Bloo Chee-z’ (the ‘ue’ vowel combo sounds like ‘oo’, and the ‘se’ makes the same voiced sound as the letter ‘z’)

How to Use ‘Gorgonzola’ vs ‘Blue Cheese’ in a Sentence

The final step to mastering new vocabulary is feeling comfortable using it on your own terms. Refer to the sample sentences below to get an idea of the different contexts in which you may see ‘Gorgonzola’ vs ‘Blue Cheese’, then practice using them on your own. 

‘Gorgonzola’ Example Sentences

  • On our trip to northern Italy, we went on a food tour where they showed us how gorgonzola was made. 
  • We made a charcuterie board for our dinner party which included gorgonzola and some fruits and nuts. 
  • He found the origin story of gorgonzola cheese gross and hard to believe. 

‘Blue Cheese’ Example Sentences

  • My mom loves blue cheese and will often order it on a salad, but my dad hates it and calls it ‘stinky cheese’.
  • Despite its discolored inside, blue cheese is considered a high-brow type of cheese eaten all over the world. 
  • He couldn’t play an instrument to save his life and was known as the blue cheese of the band, who was only a member because he was the drummer’s brother. 

‘Gorgonzola’ vs ‘Blue Cheese’ Example Sentences

  • Although there are many types of blue cheeses, gorgonzola is known to be the creamiest and most mild. 
  • Gorgonzola is the only blue cheese that is well paired with pistachios, while many others go well with red wine. 
  • I wouldn’t recommend ordering a gorgonzola burger on a first date because most blue cheese makes your breath stink. 

Final Words on ‘Gorgonzola’ vs ‘Blue Cheese’

Learning new vocabulary can be a great way to connect with other cultures and get you some culinary expertise. Just remember that sometimes, learning words can be a matter of learning specifics versus categorical information, and it’s important to separate the two. 

Need a recap? Here’s a little review of what we learned:

  • ‘Gorgonzola’ is a noun that refers to a rich and creamy blue-veined cheese from Italy
  • ‘Blue Cheese’ is a noun that is the generic term for any cheese with Penicillium mold

Want to learn more about kitchen-related vocabulary? Be sure to check out other confusing word articles that give you a peek into how our words work in the real world. You can learn a lot about different cultures and culinary practices just by learning new words.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Katie Moore
Katie is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she worked as a writer and editor for the school paper while studying linguistics and journalism. She loves helping others find their voice in writing and making their work the strongest it can be. Katie also loves learning and speaking other languages and wants to help make writing accessible for everyone.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.