The definition of a “stinky” cheese its distinctive orange-red exterior does little to contain the runny, creamy and dreamy interior. Often served with a spoon, this cheese when room temperature is easily spoonable and the perfect cheese to drizzle. This one is perhaps the greatest paradox of all the washed rinds; It smells the worst, yet has the most elegant, delicate flavor. Once you peel back the russet top, and expose the almost liquid paste, you are prepared to taste something that is sweet, delicate, salty, and sublimely fruity.
Try with sauternes, a dessert wine made in the same region or a rich Ale to offset to smoothness. There’s a reason Brillat-Savarin, the famed cheese connoisseur, named it the “King of All Cheeses” in the 16th century.
How Epoisses is Made
Made in the village of Epoisses to traditional standards in the Cote D’Azur this super creamy and rich cheese is considered a washed rind but the best kind of washed: in brandy. This particular brandy is called a Pomace brandy and is made from the leftover skins of grapes pressed for wine. Aged at least six weeks this is a carefully kept and valued French AOC tradition. This is Burgundy’s version of the great North West French masterpiece that is the washed rind. Epoisses, like many of its peers, began life as a monastery cheese. Following the world wars, production had halted for artisanal cheeses. But in 1956, Robert and Simone Berthaut single-handedly brought back this centuries-old cheese that had nearly disappeared. In 1991, the cheese was granted AOC status. Their son Jean now continues the family’s legacy.