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December 13, 2018

France: Époisses de Bourgogne


Melting at room temperature: Époisses de Bourgogne’s rind is often rinsed with Marc de Bourgogne.

Époisses de Bourgogne ranks as one of our favorite cheeses. It’s reach, creamy, and slightly salty with pungent complexity that varies as it ages. At its best I’m not sure that we’ve ever encountered a better soft cheese.

We are not alone in our feelings. According to Wikipedia Napoleon was a particular fan of the cheese. The famous epicure Brillat-Savarin himself classed it as the “king of all cheeses,” strong praise indeed.

The truth is we tend to eat our Époisses on the young side, perhaps out of fear. Most self-respecting French people would not dream of eating Époisses before it develops some serious funk. Some funk is good for us too but we haven’t reached the typical French level on this. Most likely we never will.

One thing that we have learned is Époisses must be treated with respect. This is not a cheese to leave unattended in the fridge for a week. Open the refrigerator after Époisses has been left unsupervised for too long and you may well be met with an acrid, bitter, and stinging cloud of ammoniated frommage. It’s an environmental nightmare that will have you considering a call out for a haz mat team to dispose of good cheese gone bad.

Even Gigi hides if the Époisses has gone bad.

A less ripe Époisses: It’s better more mature, but not too mature.

Some of France’s many fine cheeses

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