A flavourful and approachable washed rind cheese.
Cheese Name: Langres AOP
Origin: Champagne, France
Milk Type: cow’s milk – raw or pasteurized
Style: Langres is a soft, strong, washed rind cheese.
Description: Langres is made traditionally in a small round, approximately two and a half inches tall. There are three dairies in the region making this cheese, and only one of them makes the raw milk version. The cheese has a slightly cylindrical shape and is washed during ripening with a brine that contains some annatto, which is a natural colour. Normally cheeses that are washed rind, are turned every time they are washed. These cheeses aren’t, and that causes a slight depression to form in the top of the cheese, as the cheese ripens, and slumps slightly. Langres has had AOP status since 1991. The cheeses are made to the AOP standard which includes aging for 5 – 7 weeks to mature properly. The finished product will have a wrinkly rind, and a distinctive orange hue. If eaten ripe, the cheese will look verry soft and runny under the crust but possible still a little firm and flaky towards the center, due to its shape.
Tasting Notes: Regardless of pasteurized or raw milk this is one of my favourite cheeses. It has all the wonderful funkiness of a washed rind cheese, but with a wonderful grassy soft taste. It has an amazing depth of flavour and is unique, without being so strong that it will scare off the less enthusiastic cheese lovers. Langres does have a typical washed rind aroma for sure, but don’t let that scare you, as in this case the bark is much stronger than the bite.
Pairing: One tradition for Langres is that you pour some of your Champagne into the depression on the top of your wheel before serving, and it bubbles up to make a show. I personally like it as an after dinner course. Maybe just skip the dessert. and have it with a sweet or off-dry wine. I find some toasted fruit or walnut bread, or even fruit and nut crackers are the perfect marriage. Make sure you leave your cheese out for a few hours before you are expecting to serve it and take it out of the container when you first take it out of the fridge and leave it on your serving board covered. It will be hard to handle once it has warmed up.
GOW's suggested wine pairings: