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May 26, 2017

All My Boozy Cheeses: Petit Pont Cidre

THE STORY:

For something new and fun, I'm writing about cheese...and getting paid for it. But there was just one thing about my article in Wine Enthusiast about alcohol-rubbed cheeses that rubbed me the wrong way: I couldn't include all the cheeses I wanted! The French have always been a little inventive with their liquor (and their cheese).


Cheeses are rubbed with alcohol during the aging process for the same reason they are sometimes rubbed with salt-water brine: to promote good bacteria, discourage bad bacteria, and create some serious cheese funkiness. Sticky, stinky orange cheeses are usually rubbed with brine, but when they're sticky, stinky, goopy, and funky, they're probably rubbed with alcohol. That alcohol is usually wine, but not always; I've found examples with beer, Calvados, plum wine, Marc de Bourgogne, and walnut liqueur. Here's just a sampling of what I could have included in the article if I weren't limited to cheeses that the American readers might actually be able to find in the US.

 
 
Langres Affiné à la Mirabelle (plum wine) and Affidelices (Chablis, white wine)
  
Chambertin and Epoisses and Petit Bourgignon (all Marc de Bourgogne)
  
Brun de Noix and Timanoix and Trappe d'Echourgnac (all walnut liqueur)

The same magazine asked me to write a back-page essay for a different issue -- about what it's like to eat my way through 500 (and counting) cheeses. That's about three years and 550 cheeses condensed into one page.

THE CHEESE: Petit Pont Cidre

Petit Pont Cidre is a pasteurized cows' cheese that follows a cherished Normandy tradition of treating cheese with Calvados, apple liqueur, only this time it's with Cidre, a hard apple cider (so really, not so different). This cheese comes from the Fromagerie Maître Pennec, that same fromagerie that brings you many pasteurized Normandy-style cheeses, often with vague swear words in the name (for which I am grateful).



It's a Camembert-style cheese, with the buttery, runny insides oozing to the outside. In addition to the fine wafting stench of Camembert, there's an added funk from the Cidre. Let's just say that it's not a cheese the children flock to, as the stench has a distinct fermented, alcoholic tinge it. Smeared on a piece of bread, it's a great way to wake up your taste buds.

THE CONNECTION:

This is a boozy cheese, but I'm unable to use it for the article in Wine Enthusiast because we can't find anybody who imports it into the US market. And since it's an American publication for a mostly-American readership, that's fair enough. It means I can't include several cheeses I want, like the Petit Pont Cidre, but that's OK, since what the editors wanted was a small article and not a huge encyclopedia.

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