Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cheese of the Month March #2 : Cour De Thierache

I thought I would show case something new for the second March cheese. When I was in Auckland I decided to stop in on one of my importers La Fromagerie. Situated in the shadow of giant Lion Brewery in New Market, the entire suburb was filled with the smells of mash and boil, La Fromagerie is the cheese importing arm of Maison Vauron a wine importer who more interestingly to me imports some French cider as well. Although the nature of my visit was mainly a courtesy call inevitably a wee cheese board was sourced and a few interesting cheeses tasted. One of the cheeses I subsequently decided to stock was Cour De Thierache, a beer washed rind cheese from the north of France.

Washed rind cheeses come from the monastic tradition where the fermented products of the monastery often featured in each others production. Accordingly the beer or wine was often used to help ripen the cheese, the grain from the mash was used to make the bread and feed the pigs and so on.
Washing the rind of the cheese not only flavours it with what ever you are washing it with but also helps in the development of b-linens, the rusty coloured moulds that create pungent, yeasty and fruity aromas and flavours. I love washed rind cheeses.

Cour De Thierache comes shaped as a heart, bloody French eh?, and sits towards the milder end of the washed rind spectrum. That said it is still gloriously yeasty with an edge of funk. The rind has a slightly gritty crystallised character with the texture of the cheese inside being semi-firm.
I pulled out a bottle of 2003 Chimay Blue from the cellar to match the cheese and enjoyed the combination with SWMBO. The beer, cheese and company matched gloriously (I know cheesy but we are talking a heart shaped cheese for Christ’s sake!). The yeasty punch of the cheese was softened by the mellow dried fruit character of the Chimay. At 5 years the Chimay Blue is definitely starting to develop some port character. In fact it put us in such a port mood that a bottle of Sandeman followed in quick succession.

1 comment:

Boak said...

Interesting stuff - I don't know much about cheese, or cheese tasting, only that I love the stuff.