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The global production of cheese is quite large, some varieties smell very strong, and some have such a specific smell that they will simply scare off an inexperienced buyer. But here's the paradox - it is those cheeses that smell the most strongly, have the most original taste, which allows you to compare them with works of art and compose whole odes about them.
Although samples of fragrant cheeses can be found in domestic stores, most often, acquaintance with them occurs in their native element, that is, during a trip to France, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland ... It is believed that visiting France and not trying the local fragrant soft cheeses , it's like you don't have pizza in Italy, sushi in Japan, and gazpacho in Spain.
French cheeses have their own markings. So AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) means "Original controlled name". It is believed that such a mark can be assigned only to those cheeses that meet legal requirements.
According to the laws, both the production of milk, which is used as raw material, and the process of making cheese itself must exactly comply with local recipes and traditions. As a result, cheese with such markings will be exactly as it is described by gourmets and culinary critics.
It is important to take this into account, because, for example, the German Camembert differs from its French counterpart - it is not at all odorous and has different taste qualities. This cheese is simply made for German buyers, which is not bad in itself, but does not live up to expectations.
In England and other countries there is an analogue of AOC - the PDO (Protected designation of origin) tag. It also reconciles established names to the locality where they were traditionally produced.
You should be aware that almost all cheeses with a strong smell are made from unpasteurized milk. Most of the cheeses belong to the class of aged soft cheeses. The smell of cheese depends on various factors.
In addition, one and the same variety can please one of its color and taste and completely scare off others. You can only appreciate the fragrant cheeses by trying them yourself. Let's talk about the ten most fragrant cheeses on the planet, giving you the opportunity to at least introduce them.
Taleggio. The first mention of this Italian cheese dates back to the tenth century. This is probably the oldest of the soft varieties of the product. Then the cheese was allowed to ripen in the coastal damp grottoes due to the high humidity there, and from time to time the head was washed by the same sea water. Most likely it was she, who is so rich in microorganisms, who helped Talleggio acquire the fame of a fragrant and very tasty cheese. It is traditionally prepared in autumn and winter, this is the specificity of cow's milk during this period. Today Talleggio is already preparing in the grottoes, and in special machines that recreate the microclimate of the caves. But either the lack of fresh sea water and air, or the use of pasteurized milk led to the fact that such modern cheese is no longer as odorous as its ancestor. Although you can find the classic Talleggio, which is made in small batches according to the old technology. Here, unpasteurized milk is used, the product itself matures on wooden shelves just in the sea grottoes. The cheese is washed weekly with a sea sponge so that the wrong mold does not form. The structure of Tallegio is soft, it looks like butter. The cheese has a thin bark-tinged crust, and salt crystals appear on the surface. The cheese has a mild flavor, fruity notes and an unusual aftertaste. Taleggio is often used in salads, added to risotto or polenta.
Stilton. This is the real king of English cheeses. It can only be produced in the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. The irony of fate is that in the village of Stilton, which gave the cheese its name, it is prohibited to produce it, as it is located in another county - Cambridgeshire. The texture of Stilton can be very different - from very soft and resembling oil, to hard and crumbling with blue veins due to the presence of the Penicillium roqueforti penicillin culture. The aroma comes to cheese with age - the larger it is, the more fragrant and refined the product. Stilton's fat content is usually around 32-35%. Port wine is usually served with this cheese. It is also used in pureed soups and goes well with broccoli, celery, and crackers.
Fetid Bishop. And this cheese comes from England. It was made a long time ago, but the lost recipes were revived in 1972. It is now produced by Charles Martell and Son at Laurel Farm in Gloucestershire in the south of the country. To obtain cheese, milk from cows of a special breed is used. As a result, the color of the cheese ranges from white-yellow to beige, while the crust looks gray-orange. The fat content of the cheese is about 48%. The cheese got its exotic name thanks to the Stinky Bishop pear variety, which served as raw materials for the preparation of cider, which was popular in the Middle Ages. It was in the pear drink that the monks placed loaves of cheese once a month for washing. The combination of humidity and the absence of salt, which is not added until the cheese is separated from the mold, gives the bathing opportunity to create a special microflora on the surface of the cheese, which creates an unusual smell. It can be compared to the smell of long-worn socks or wet towels. The Fetid Bishop bears a resemblance to the French Époisses de Bourgogne, especially appreciated by Napoleon. Let the French brother and has an offensive aroma for refined natures. The Fetid Bishop himself matures for about 4 months, after which the crust becomes sticky, like the cap of a mushroom. After purchasing this product, you should place it in an airtight box or transport it in your own vehicle. Otherwise, the situation described by Jerome K. Jerome in his "Three Men in a Boat Excluding a Dog" would be possible. There, the passengers of the car, in which the narrator was transporting his cheese, flew out like a bullet at the nearest station so as not to inhale the cheese aroma. However, Fetid Bishop's unpleasant smell can be easily removed along with the crust, while the cheese itself has a delicate taste. Moreover, it is easy to spread it on toasted bread or biscuit; in terms of popularity among cheeses, it is one of the leaders in England.
Limburger. Fragrant cheese is also to the taste of the Germans, although other smells are held in high esteem. The famous Limburger does not smell like socks like the British or feminine fragrances like the French. Limburger is the personification of the stronger sex, so he has a corresponding smell - an unwashed male body. The fact is that in the ripening of the product, the bacteria Brevibacterium linens are used, which, in addition, are involved in creating the smell of human sweat. This cheese, so beloved in Germany, has so organically blended into the local cuisine that no one even remembers that he himself comes from Belgium. Limburger is in demand in Austria and Holland, and Pushkin mentioned it in "Eugene Onegin" ("live Limburg cheese"). The cheese has a creamy taste, the yellow-brown crust is rather soft and has traces of mold. Limburger has a salty, spicy and rather intense taste. This cheese goes well with black bread and potatoes. For drinks, Limburger is best consumed with apple cider, beer, or fortified red wine, such as port.
Roquefort. The famous blue cheese is made in the south of France and is one of the most popular in the CIS. Sheep's milk is used for production, the semi-finished product is aged in limestone grottoes, it is there that the microclimate contributes to the formation of the noble mold Penicillium roqueforti. It is she who gives Roquefort the taste and aroma appreciated by gourmets. Real Roquefort is always made from pasteurized milk, and cow's milk is not suitable. However, it should be warned that this cheese is not only tasty, but also quite dangerous. This is especially true for pregnant women for whom Roquefort is not recommended, since there is a risk of contracting listeriosis. However, this is nothing compared to the deadly and forbidden in our country Italian cheese Casu Marzu, from which to bleed or go blind. Roquefort can be found here in any decent restaurant; it is customary to serve this cheese at the end of a meal, choosing the appropriate wine to it. The more mature the cheese, the sweeter and brighter the drink should be.
Brie de Meaux. Another name for this cheese is Brie from Moe. Moe is a small town 40 kilometers from Paris. It was there that this type of cheese was traditionally prepared, even holding annual cheese fairs, attracting gourmets from all over the country. Bree can be called the royal cheese without exaggeration. After all, Philip II Augustus, the Queen of Navarre and the Duke of Orleans, famous for the novels of Dumas, Queen Margot and Henry IV, enjoyed it. Even the biggest French glutton, the hero of Rabelais' book "Gargantua and Pantagruel", presented a brie head to his parents. Although this cheese resembles another well-known soft variety, Camembert, it is less odorous and greasy. The head of cheese looks like a flat cake 3-4 centimeters thick and 30-40 in diameter. The brie has a velvety coating of white mold with reddish veins. The delicate crust hides a pleasant, fluid mass of creamy color with a smell of hazelnuts. A strong and unpleasant smell for many comes, as often happens, from the crust itself. Cheese connoisseurs believe that brie should be eaten with it. After the first sample, the ammonia smell will cease to be perceived, and the most delicate taste will forever remain in your memory. It should be noted that the French Brie de Meaux is completely different from the German Brie, which is widely represented in our supermarkets in cans. Real brie is made exclusively from raw cow milk. It is this that creates a delicate creamy structure, as well as a pungent smell when aged. Such cheese must be stored in the refrigerator, and the product must be warmed up to room temperature before serving. This will allow the aroma and taste to unfold to the fullest. Brie goes well with wine, both white and red will do.
Epuiss. Napoleon Bonaparte loved cheese, but this one was his favorite. It is officially prohibited in France from being transported on public transport, which speaks volumes in the country of cheese worship. The recipe for the preparation of Epuiss was invented by the Cisternian monks in the abbey near the town of Epuiss in the 16th century. Whole and unpasteurized milk is used to prepare the cheese. At one of the stages, the semi-finished product is soaked in "Mark" grape vodka. The cheese ripens for about 5-8 weeks, after which it develops a shiny crust with slight wrinkles. They are ivory for young Epuass, while more seasoned specimens develop reddish-brown hues. Only with proper aging will the cheese get a sharp taste and a pungent smell of unwashed body. It is worth paying attention to the fact that under the crust the cheese should be creamy, soft and tender, and in no case should it smell like ammonia. Such a smell will be a signal of product spoilage. Connoisseurs believe that a first-class epuass should certainly smell like a woman, such a scent will excite desires and generate hot memories.
Munster. The recipe for this cheese came to us from Benedictine monks from the 7th century. Then in monasteries they tried to replace meat in this way. According to legend, the monks experimented with sour milk for so long that the result was a cheese with a beautiful reddish crust and a peculiar smell of high mountain pastures. Translated from poetic language, the cheese smelled like sweaty and unwashed feet. The real Munster is produced only in the Vosges, the main secret of the monks is to turn the cheese heads every two days. In addition, the product is wiped with water from local sources, and milk is taken only from a special Vosges breed of cows. Despite its strong aroma, Munster is very popular in France. In addition, tasting a glorious cheese with good wine disposes of poetry.
Camembert. This famous Norman soft cheese smells like sodium chloride, succinic acid and ammonium compounds. The French, on the one hand, compare the aroma of cheese with the smells of a pipe of a chemical plant, and, on the other hand, selflessly love it, calling it "the feet of God." Like brie, Camembert is considered one of the most delicious cheeses in the world. For cooking, unpasteurized milk is used, which is allowed to mature for 20 days. The cheese itself has a delicate crust, which is covered with a thick coating of velvety white mold, which hides a creamy yellowish mass. Bread and red wine with low tannin content go well with cheese. The main thing is not to forget that cheese is only lightly washed down with wine, and not a drink is seized by food.
Pont Leveque. This native of Normandy is the most fragrant, with a lineage dating back to the 12th century. Soft cheese has a crust on which mold is located. Whole goat milk is used for production. Usually, when describing Pont Leveque, the topic of aroma is bypassed, perhaps this is true. Why mention once again about this dubious advantage of the famous delicacy? But inside the head of such a cheese, you will find a multifaceted and rich taste with notes of fruits and nuts. Pont Leveque goes well with Burgundy wine and lettuce.