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Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cheese: Chaource


Given the abundance of cheese France produces, I’ve decided to tackle the subject once a month in a series of posts that bring some of the lesser known cheeses, (at least outside the France borders) into focus.  Some cheeses have a complicated history which I try to boil down to what makes them unique and notable, and others simply developed from “farm cheeses” made to be consumed where they were produced.  Either way, “Cheese” gives me a chance to explore one of the gastronomic delights of France and justify my excursions to a cheese monger as “research”.  And the research can be oh, so grueling…

Spring and summer are usually the season for fresh cheeses, particularly those made from goat or sheep’s milk.  Many cow’s milk cheeses are better in the fall and winter months, but one cheese I’ve had is ideal for summer: Chaource.

Named for its village of origin in Northeastern France, Chaource’s first noted history is in 1531.  One legend notes that monks from the Abby de Pontigny taught local peasants how to make it.  Originally destined to be consumed on the farm it was fabricated, Chaource acquired its notary during the 19th Century when cheese connoisseurs would resell the cheese in the local markets of Paris or Lyon.  

Exclusively made from cow’s milk, Chaource takes long to fabricate and is aged between three weeks and two months.  It has had the title AOC or l’Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée since 1970 which means it has a controlled designation of origins and must be manufactured within a certain region.  Chaource is cylindrical in form and is fabricated in two sizes: petit (between 250 and 380 grams) and grand (450 – 700 grams).  It has a very thin eatable rind, is extremely creamy, and develops a slightly hazelnut flavor as it ages.  Produced in the Champagne region, Chaource logically is paired with Champagne or other local wines such as Chablis or a Rosé.

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