Country of Origin: France
Chaumes is a soft, washed-rind cheese—first developed in Southwestern France, amongst the foothils of the French Pyrénées, and based upon a classic Trappist soft-cheese style. More savoury, earthy, and aromatic than many more widely-known soft cheeses—like Brie or Camembert—Chaumes makes for an excellent introudction to the more robust, strong-smelling varieties of soft cheese which are popular within, but lesser known outside of France. The name Chaumes (literally meaning “stubble”—the short stalks which cover a field of recently harvested grain) likely refers to the orange coloured rind, or possibly to the pleasant cut-straw and fresh grain flavours of the smooth, whiteish interior.
During the process of ripening and maturation, Chaumes is repeatedly washed with a brine scrub and brushed with bacterial ferments to encourage the growth of the natural, tangerine-orange rind. This soft, sometimes sticky, brightly coloured rind is the source of the earthy, yeasty, tantalizingly distinct aroma which pervades this cheese. The interior flesh is the colour of butter, with small holes and a runny, almost stretchy consistency; the flavour is bold, grassy but creamy, lactic, bready and with a pleasant, understated bitter note on the finish.
Beverage Pairings: mellow dry-to-sweet white wines such as: Jurancon, Rosette or Haut-Montravel. Dry red such as: Marmandais, Frontonnais, Bergerac, Tursan, or Valpolicella. Consider trying Chaumes with a pilsner or high-carbonation pale ale, or with a dry cider—apple or pear.
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