Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cheese of the Month

have a love of cheese and my thought on this has always been, the stinkier the better. That may not always be true, but cheese is a great passion of mine and I thought it'd be a fun idea to start a Cheese of the Month Club on this blog. My hope is to expand my knowledge on cheeses - how they are made, stored, taste, and what they pair well with. You can join me by stopping by your local cheese counter and trying the same ones as I do. Your comments are greatly appreciated and hopefully we can learn together. I'll start small with 1 cheese every 2-3 weeks for 3 months and see how it goes. Most of my info will come from various cheese sites, books, and of course my personal opinion.

To start, I've chosen the Langres from the high plans of Champagne-Ardenne, France, dating back to the 18th century. This cheese comes uncooked, unpressed, and has a dense, creamy texture. As you can see from the picture below, the skin is a bit wrinkly with a slight depression on top called the "fontaine". The French have traditionally poured champagne into the dip, which is intended to draw out its fruit and pepper flavors.

The Langres is brine washed and colored with roucou, a red coloring derived from the Annatto tree. To make the Langres, the French use a traditional method of ripening for about 5-6 weeks, keeping the cheese in a humid cellar (explains the wrinkly skin). It has a subtle but powerful scent and what I consider to be a pronounced odor. Very similar to the Epoisse, a favorite of mine, but much milder.

Pairs well with a full bodied red wine, such as Burgundy or even a Pinot Noir. And of course, champagne.

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