Pont-l'Évêque has a long lineage and lays claim to be the oldest Normandy cheese still in production. It can trace its history back to at least the 12th century when it was known as "angelot". It gained national prominence in the 16th century and became known by its geographical area of production.
Being a cheese of some stature, of course it is protected by an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) that sets out stringent requirements for any cheese that wants to go under that name. This was a Petit variety, so has to be 8.5-9.5 cm square, and have a minimum of 85g of dry matter.
The cheese itself is pale yellow with a white-orange washed rind that gives it a pungent aroma that may make you think that it’s stronger than it really is. Actually it’s very refined with a soft, creamy, buttery texture that brings a little piece of the Normandy sunshine with it.
It’s often recommended to drink Normandy cider with it or champagne. But I’ve just paired it with a bottle of Pinot Gris from Alsace and that seemed to work perfectly well.