I finally came across some Langres, a cheese I've been trying to find for ages! We tasted it with a nice hunk of Salers Tradition for this week's Fête du Fromage.
The mountains of the Auvergne region of central France is home to a chestnut colored breed of cattle called Salers. After a summer of grazing on sweet mountain pastures, the raw milk from this special breed is used to make Salers Tradition cheese, an entirely fermier AOC cheese. It is similar to Cantal, the main difference is that Cantal can be made from milk produced all year long and Salers only from the summer milk. The cheese is made and aged in mountain burons (stone huts) just as it has been for the last two thousand years.
The piece I bought was aged for 18 months and was salty, tangy and strong tasting with hints of grass and flowers. I loved it's flavor, but my husband wasn't very excited about this one. (more for me!) It's aroma was meaty and heady and the texture was soft and crumbly.
Salers Tradition would be delicious served with fruit such as apples, pears or grapes and fantastic with walnuts. Pour a glass of Touraine or a fruity Maçon to drink with this cheese.
Gooey, runny and utterly delectable, Langres (LAHNG-gruh) was truly worth it's hefty little price tag. (5 € for this 150 gram cheese in a basket)
The high plains of Langres in the Champagne-Ardenne region is home to the artisans who make this superb AOC awarded cheese. Difficult to see in this picture, but the there is a little well or fontaine on top into which you can pour Champagne, Chablis or marc de Champagne*. Then, when you cut into the cheese, it is bathed in spirits. But the flavor is so incredible it doesn't need to be bathed in anything! Just have a glass of Chablis or Champagne or marc with the Langres while you're eating it.
It has a smelly, barnyard aroma (for lack of a better description) and a wet, shiny looking crust. The cheese melts in your mouth as spicy, creamy and mildly salty flavors blend together and send waves of pleasure throughout your entire body. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a tiny bit, but this cheese is very special!
*marc de Champagne is a clear, colorless brandy made by distilling the residue of skins, seeds and stalks left after pressing the grapes in the first stage of making Champagne