Cheese Fest

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Archive for February, 2017

Époisses

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February 26th, 2017 Posted 8:10 pm

Époisses lays claim to being the smelliest cheese in the world. So smelly and offensive, that open carry is forbidden on the Paris Metro… apparently.

This is how it is presented in shops:

Epoisses

…however, unless you purchase the whole forme, this is how it will appear when you get it home:

Epoisses

The origins of this cheese date back to the 16th century and those naughty Trappist monks putting alcohol in everything. The cheese is washed with a mixture of brandy and brine. Though it is highly unlikely that the monks knew it at the time, a particular strain of bacteria (brevibacterium linens), notably responsible for smelly feet, was a key part of the recipe.

A popular cheese, it continued to be manufactured by many farms in the area. Then due to WW2, production ceased. The recipe was never recorded and only passed on from generation to generation through word of mouth.

Luckily, in 1956, the Berthauts, a couple of farmers near Dijon, had the foresight to revive the cheese and sought out the last surviving individuals who knew how to make it.

Époisses has a sticky orange rind. Did I mention, it’s also rather smelly? Maybe not as bad as expected by its claim of “the world’s smelliest cheese”, but certainly very pungent. Sweaty, smelly socks with a hint of slurry. It sounds horrible but to the hardened cheese connoisseur, it’s heaven (yes, we’re weird like that ;-) ). Sometimes, there is a strong smell of ammonia, but more about that in a moment.

The inner pate is a light creamy colour and should be soft and gooey or runny depending upon ripeness.

The texture is deliciously smooth and creamy and the flavour, perhaps surprisingly, is quite delicate. The pungent aromas are still present in the taste, but very subdued. There is also a wine reaction, that so often occurs with washed cheeses, in the form of delicious fruity notes that magically appear.

A note of warning. Éposses is one of those cheeses that really needs to be stored properly in order to get the best out of it. It is therefore, highly recommended that it be purchased from a proper fromagerie. Supermarkets do sell it, but very often it will lack the expected pungency and gooey decadence. Typically, supermarket sell-by dates are too short for refrigerated storage and the cheese is not fully ripe by the date indicated. In the opposite extreme, it can also become over-ripe and bitter, the aforementioned ammonia smell is a good indicator of this.

Époisses is a real classic cheese that is famous throughout the world. Don’t let bad supermarket experiences put you off, when this cheese is good, it is awesome.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2012

(4/5)

 

Posted in Cow's milk, French, Soft, Washed

Wyfe of Bath

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February 19th, 2017 Posted 5:18 pm

Experience, though noon auctoritee,
Were in this world, were right y-nough to me,
To speke of wo that is in mariage;
For, lordinges, sith I twelf yeer was of age.

-  Geoffrey Chaucer

From whence this cheese doth get it’s name… apparently.

Wyfe of Bath

Wyfe of Bath

According to the manufacturer, like Chaucer’s tale, this cheese is like a taste of old England. It certainly smells, old.  It has this wonderful smell of old, damp stone, reminiscent of a church crypt.

Formed in cloth lined baskets, the cheese is shaped like a large round soap bar, with a tough, leathery, orange / grey, natural rind.

Inside, the pate can vary from a pale yellow to a light golden colour, with a firm but yielding, slightly rubbery, but creamy texture.

The taste is initially quite sharp, with delicate hints of fungus and stone. The sharpness quickly melts away leaving a pleasing nutty, grassy flavour.

All in all a pleasant cheese to nibble on with a glass of red wine.

Produced by The Bath Soft Cheese Co.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2011.

(3/5)

Posted in Cow's milk, English, Hard

Cœur de Neufchâtel

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February 12th, 2017 Posted 7:50 pm

Well, it’s St. Valentine’s day (almost) and I’ve been trying, for years, to write up this one at around this time of year, but always missed. Yes, I know… cheesy, but when you have a heart shaped cheese, waddya gonna do?

To be fair, it isn’t the only heart shaped cheese, and Neufchâtel is not always heart shaped. It can be found in other forms, logs, wheels and bricks.

Cœur de Neufchâtel

Cœur de Neufchâtel

Regardless of the shape, Neufchâtel has a soft, smooth, velvety rind, covered in a fine white mould. The smell is very mushroomy with hints of ammonia.

The pate is gooey and pale yellow just inside the rind, but almost white and crumbly in the centre.

It has a very slight buttery smell that is almost non-existent.

The taste is immediately salty, quickly giving way to a pungent flavour accompanied by a burning sensation.

There is no real after taste, but it leaves you with the burning and an anæsthetic sensation.

It is also one of those cheese that has an interesting effect when taken with wine, producing a strange metallic taste.

A bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You think it’s going to be mild mannered, a soft creamy, delicate cheese in a lovely little heart shape. But, then it bites.

It’s a bit of an unusual cheese and one to try because of it, but to be honest, it’s a little overrated.

Purchased from the cheese stall outside Brighton Station.

Reviewed by Nick & Olympia, 2012.

(1.5/5)

Posted in Cow's milk, French, Soft