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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.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cheese: Pont-l’évêque

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…
The history of this cheese can be traced back to the 12th Century when it was called “angelot” and then later “augelot”.  Mentioned in Roman de la Rose by 13th Century author Guillaume de Lorris, it did not receive its name Pont-l’évêque from its village of origin until the 17th Century.

Pont-l’évêque is a cow’s milk cheese from Normandy in the department of Calvados.  Here’s a little thing to remember about Normandy: it’s at the northern most tip of France. The weather cool and damp and that produces very rich and abundant vegetation.  This is cow country; the gastronomy is rich in butter and creams and it is home of some widely popular cheeses, such as Camembert and Brie.  So, when presented with a cheese from this region, you can be almost guaranteed it’s made from cows’ milk.

Pont-l’évêque is characteristically square.  It is creamy, nutty, and has a pungent odor that develops as it ages.  It received AOC or l’Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in 1972, signifying its origins and manufacturing must be with a certain region.

Les bonnes tables étaient toujours garnies au dessert de fromage angelots”.  Guillaume de Lorris, Roman de la Rose, 1225.

“The good tables were always filled with desserts of angelot cheese”.


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