In the world of cheese, there are few varieties as rich and complex as Epoisses. This French cheese, made from cow\’s milk, is known for its pungent aroma, creamy texture, and intense flavor. In this article, we will explore the history, production, and taste of Epoisses cheese, as well as provide some tips for pairing it with other foods.
The History of Epoisses Cheese
Epoisses cheese has been made for centuries in the small village of Epoisses, located in the Burgundy region of France. It was originally produced by Cistercian monks at the Epoisses Abbey in the 16th century, and was later made famous by Napoleon, who reportedly loved the cheese so much that he requested it at every meal.
During World War I and II, production of Epoisses cheese declined as a result of economic hardship and reduced farming. However, in the 1950s, a man named Robert Berthaut revived the production of Epoisses and helped it gain international recognition.
The Production of Epoisses Cheese
To make Epoisses cheese, cow\’s milk is first heated and curdled. The curds are then cut and separated from the whey, and are put into perforated molds to drain. Once drained, the cheese is salted and left to age for several weeks.
During the aging process, the cheese is washed with brine and then with Marc de Bourgogne, a local brandy. This washing process gives the cheese its distinct orange rind and pungent aroma. The cheese is typically aged for four to six weeks, during which time it develops a soft, creamy texture and a taste that is simultaneously tangy, sweet, and savory.
The Taste of Epoisses Cheese
Epoisses cheese is known for its strong and complex flavor, which is a result of its unique production process. The cheese has a rich, creamy texture and a tangy, salty taste that is balanced by a slightly sweet finish.
Some people describe the flavor of Epoisses as \”meaty\” or \”brothy,\” and it pairs well with a variety of foods, including bread, crackers, and fruit. In particular, Epoisses is often paired with Burgundy wines, which complement its intense flavor.
Tips for Pairing Epoisses Cheese
When pairing Epoisses cheese with other foods, it is important to choose flavors that will complement its complex taste. Here are a few tips for pairing Epoisses:
- Bread: Epoisses pairs well with crusty bread, such as a baguette or sourdough. The bread\’s texture contrasts with the creamy cheese, while its flavor complements the cheese\’s tangy and salty notes.
- Fruit: Epoisses also pairs well with fruit, such as apples or grapes. The sweetness of the fruit helps to balance the cheese\’s pungency, creating a delicious harmony of flavors.
- Wine: Epoisses is often paired with Burgundy wines, which are made from the same region where the cheese is produced. The acidic and fruity notes of the wine complement the cheese\’s complex flavor, creating a delicious pairing.
Overall, Epoisses cheese is a unique and delicious variety that is beloved by cheese connoisseurs all over the world. Its rich history, unique production process, and complex flavor make it a true treat for the senses. Whether you\’re enjoying it on its own or pairing it with other foods, Epoisses cheese is sure to delight your taste buds.