I have a passion for all things gastronomy, and one of my favorite culinary delights is cheese. France is renowned for its incredible cheese culture, with hundreds of varieties available throughout the country. One region that stands out for its exceptional cheese production is Burgundy. Located in the heart of France, Burgundy is home to some of the most delicious cheeses in the world, each with its own unique flavor and texture.
I’m going to share my top picks for the best Burgundy cheeses to try when visiting France. From the nutty and buttery Epoisses de Bourgogne to the sharp and tangy Soumaintrain, these cheeses are sure to delight your taste buds and give you a true taste of Burgundy. Whether you’re a cheese connoisseur or just starting your cheese journey, these Burgundy cheeses are a must-try on your next trip to France.
Époisses is a soft, washed-rind cheese that comes from the village of Époisses in the Burgundy region of France. It is a cow’s milk cheese and has a distinctive orange-red rind that is washed with a brine solution made with water and Marc de Bourgogne, a type of brandy. This washing process gives the cheese its characteristic pungent aroma and complex, savory flavor.
It was described as “the King of the cheeses” in 1826 by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a French lawyer and politician, and now the cheese is even named after him!
The beloved Époisses cheese has a creamy texture and a rich, buttery taste with notes of mushrooms and a slight tang. It is best served at room temperature, and it pairs well with full-bodied red wines, such as Burgundy or Rhône wines. In France, Époisses is often enjoyed as a dessert cheese, served with fruit and nuts, but it can also be used in savory dishes, such as quiches, tarts, or melted on potatoes or bread. Due to its strong aroma and flavor, Époisses is not for everyone, but it is highly regarded by cheese lovers who appreciate its unique character.
Charolais cheese is a semi-soft, artisanal cheese that comes from the Charolais region in Burgundy, France. It is made using pasteurized cow’s milk and has a thin, natural rind that is often coated with gray or blue mold. The cheese has a pale yellow interior that is supple and creamy, with small holes throughout.
The traditional Charolais cheese has a delicate, nutty flavor with hints of grass and earth. It is not as pungent or strong as some other Burgundy cheeses, making it a good choice for those who prefer milder flavors. Charolais cheese can be appreciated on its own or paired with fruit, crackers, or a crusty baguette. It also melts well and can be used in many recipes like gratins or soufflés.
Charolais cheese is produced in small quantities by local artisans, and its production is regulated by strict standards to ensure quality and authenticity. It is often sold at markets and specialty cheese shops in the Charolais region and throughout Burgundy.
Boucheron cheese is a soft-ripened goat cheese that originates from the Loire Valley region of France. It is named after the Boucheron family, who were originally known for their expertise in making fine goat cheese.
The classic Boucheron cheese is cylindrical in shape and has a distinctive wrinkled rind that is ash-coated. It is made from pasteurized goat’s milk and has a creamy, slightly crumbly texture. The flavor of Boucheron cheese is tangy and slightly nutty, with a hint of sweetness. As the cheese ages, the flavor becomes more pronounced and the texture becomes softer.
Boucheron cheese is typically served as an appetizer or dessert cheese, and pairs well with crusty bread, crackers, and fresh fruit. It also goes well with dry white wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre. In addition to being consumed on its own, Boucheron cheese can be used for cooking, such as in salads, omelets, or quiches.
Boucheron cheese is widely available in cheese shops and supermarkets, both in France and abroad.
Soumaintrain is a type of cheese that originates from the Burgundy region of France. It is a soft-ripened, washed-rind cheese made from cow’s milk. The cheese earned its name from the village of Soumaintrain in the Yonne department of Burgundy, where it was traditionally produced.
Soumaintrain cheese has a distinctive reddish-orange rind that is created by washing the cheese during its maturation process. The rind is often sticky and can develop a slightly pungent aroma. Inside, the cheese has a light yellow to creamy color and a supple, soft texture.
In terms of flavor, Soumaintrain cheese is rich, creamy, and buttery, with mild to moderate intensity. It has a slightly salty and tangy taste, which becomes more pronounced as the cheese ages. The texture becomes creamier and more runny towards the center as it ripens.
Traditionally, Soumaintrain cheese was made from unpasteurized milk, which contributed to its unique flavor and character. However, today you can find pasteurized versions of the cheese as well.
Soumaintrain is typically enjoyed on its own or with bread, crackers, or fresh fruits. It pairs well with red Burgundy wines, reflecting its regional origins.
Abbaye de Cîteaux
Abbaye de Cîteaux cheese, also known as Cîteaux or simply Cîteaux cheese, is a type of washed-rind cheese that originated from the Burgundy region of France. It takes its name from the Cîteaux Abbey, a historic Cistercian monastery located in the commune of Saint-Nicolas-lès-Cîteaux, in the Côte-d’Or department of Burgundy.
Cîteaux cheese is made using cow’s milk and is produced by the Trappist monks at the Abbaye de Cîteaux. The cheese follows the traditional methods and recipes developed by the monks, who have been making cheese for centuries.
The cheese has a washed rind, which means that it is regularly washed or brushed with a brine solution during the aging process. This process helps to develop the characteristic reddish-orange rind and contributes to the cheese’s distinctive aroma and flavor.
Cîteaux cheese has a soft yellow, creamy interior with a smooth and supple texture. The taste is rich, creamy, and slightly nutty, with hints of earthiness. The cheese becomes more pungent and flavorful as it ages.
L’Ami du Chambertin
L’Ami du Chambertin is a specific type of cheese that is named after the renowned French cheese, Chambertin. It is also known as Ami du Chambertin or simply Ami cheese. L’Ami du Chambertin is a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese that comes from the Burgundy region of France.
The cheese is produced in the same area where the famous Burgundy wine, Chambertin, is made. It is believed that the cheese was created to complement and accompany the flavors of this fine wine.
L’Ami du Chambertin has a distinctive appearance. It has a reddish-orange rind, which is a result of regular washing or brushing during the aging process. The rind contributes to the cheese’s characteristic aroma and flavor.
Inside, the cheese has a creamy and slightly soft texture. It is pale yellow in color and has a mild, buttery flavor with subtle hints of nuttiness. As the cheese ages, it becomes more robust and develops a stronger, more pungent taste.