This week we look at a little known gem from Burgundy, stepping out of the shadow of Epoisses.
Cheese Name: Soumaintrain
Origin: Burgundy, France
Milk Type: Cow’s milk
Style: Soft washed rind
Description: Soumaintrain is a soft cheese, washed while ripening with a mix of brine and a small portion of Marc de Bourgogne. It has the IGP designation, denoting that it is typical of the regional style. It has a very close, fine, texture. When younger, the small discs will be a light orange colour and a little powdery looking on the rind. As the cheese matures, the distinctive wrinkly rind will get slightly darker, and damp looking. The darker the rind, the runnier the inside of the cheese will be, and the more pungent the paste of the cheese will taste. The typical size for the wheels is 200 or 400 grams. Although 400 grams sounds like it will be big enough to share with a whole group, when it’s all gone, you might wish you saved it for yourself.
Tasting Notes: The taste is slightly grassy on the front and then ends with a delicate tangy, lactic note. Compared to its somewhat more famous big brother, Epoisses, it might seem like quite a shy family member, but I prefer it as I find it more versatile. It is, however still a washed rind, and it does have a distinctive flavour, but there is no need to debate whether it has a place on your cheeseboard. It does! Very different to the fluffy whipped softness of a triple cream, Soumaintrain has a dense, almost chewy texture that is more similar to a fudge brownie than a typical brie.
Pairing: It is an excellent after-dinner cheese that can stand up to a variety of accompaniments, like a fig preserve, or even a chutney with ginger or Christmas spices. Fruit and nut bread is also heavenly with this cheese, once the Soumaintrain has spent the prerequisite few hours outside of the fridge.