Epoisses - Gourmet Guide

June 12, 2019 | By Dave Mattingly

Epoisses, a French cow's milk cheese, is considered to be one of the great cheeses of the world. Epoisses is a soft textured, washed-rind cheese with a truly pungent aroma. It is washed in brine, cured for four weeks, and then bathed repeatedly in Marc de Bourgogne, a liqueur that is a by-product of Burgundy's local wine industry. Epoisses is loved and feared for its robust taste and powerful aroma. Perhaps most famous for its pungency, a law in France actually bans people from bringing Epoisses aboard while commuting via mass transit. This authentic French cheese has an edible reddish-brown rind that conceals a rich creamy interior. Epoisses is wrapped and sold in a circular wooden box which provides an elegant and rustic presentation.

It is said that Cistercian monks first created Epoisses in the Burgundy region of France in the 1600s. Recipes were passed down to farmers in the region who continued to make this most pungent of cheeses for hundreds of years. By 1900, Epoisses was a very popular regional cheese, but due to its labor-intensive production process, Epoisses cheese-making dwindled to almost zero until it was resurrected in the 1950s. In 1991, Epoisses was granted AOC (controlled designation of origin) status, which preserves the traditional cheese making methods for Epoisses, protecting its character and identity forever.

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