Known for its distinctive orange rind and semi-soft texture, Port Salut was developed in the 19th century by Trappist monks at the Port-du-Salut Abbey in Entrammes.
During their exile abroad during the French Revolution, the monks learned how to make cheese, and began making it in 1816. They washed the cheese in brine as it aged, giving it more full flavour. Bt 1873, it was being sent every week to Paris (it was so popular that cheese shops would raise a Port Salut flag whenever a new shipment arrived).
The monks sold the rights to make it a dairy who trademarked the name under the Société Anonyme des Fermiers Réunis (SAFR). One of the first pasteurized cheeses, it has a smooth velvety paste, with sweet and savoury taste that goes well with fruit, and it melts easily.
Saint-Paulin is a similar if blander Trappist cheese.
Until 2005, Port Salut was made at the abbey. Today it is made by the big Bel dairy company, but you can still occasionally find the handmade kind called Entrammes Tradition.
Image by Jon Sullivan