Noddy Holder is blasting away, so it must be Christmas. Or very nearly. And naturally, one’s thoughts turn to cheese. Will M&S be repeating their Stilton offer this year? What exactly should be going on that Xmas Day cheeseboard? And how to avoid making a faux pas by matching the right cheese with the correct condiment.
It’s also a good time of year to treat oneself to a premier league cheese. Well anytime is a good time for that, but Christmas does lend a certain legitimacy to the idea. With that in mind, I humbly recommend Epoisses for your delectation and delight.
Epoisses de Bourgogne is a French Appellation d’origine controlee (AOC) cheese, which means that it can only be made in and around Epoisses. It’s an unpasteurised cow’s cheese that gets its distinctiveness from being washed in Marc de Bourgogne.
Marc de Bourgogne is a French spirit made from pressing the skins, pulp, and seeds that are left over after wine grapes are processed into wine. This produces a very harsh, fiery, pomace brandy that is either (a) wonderfully potent or (b) very rough homebrew, depending on your viewpoint.
Either way, the resulting cheese is an aromatic world beater much beloved by Napoleon. The Petit Caporal certainly knew his onions when it came to cheeses: The buttery complexion gives way to a spicy white truffle experience that sets the taste buds alight. A culinary delight that needs to be tried and one of the very few (bit of controversy here) cheeses that are too good for pizza.
A note of caution though. This is a seriously pongy cheese. It’s actually recommended keeping it out of the house. You pay £32 for a kilogram of the stuff and they advise you to put it in a shed? But it’s not rated the world’s second smelliest cheese and banned from public transport in France for nothing. It scores a nose twitching 10 on the Richter scale of smelly cheese.
Smell it, love it and have a very cheesy Christmas.