The little village of Époisses has a handsome château and around 800 inhabitants, but is famous across France for its epoymous poweful AOP cow’s milk cheese with the penetrating ‘animal’ aroma and wrinkly rind.
Made with raw or pasteurized milk, with 45% fat, Époisses is aged from four to eight weeks. During that period, the crust is washed up to three times a week with water flavoured with sage and marc de Bourgogne. Sometimes it’s flavoured with fennel, black pepper or cloves, and is best eaten in the winter.
The great food writer Brillant-Savarin called it the ‘king of cheeses’, and not many would argue.
Monks in Époisses were the first to make the cheese in the early 16th century, and when they departed in the 18th, they kindly left the locals their recipe, which they have perfected over the centuries. Yet despite its reputation, the production of Époisses plummeted during and after World War I, when women had to take over the farms and had no time for cheese making.
Images by Pierre-Yves Beaudouin, pirateyjoe, Sominsky at English Wikipedia