Epoisses cheese from Burgundy has possibly single-handedly created the reputation that French cheese smells of rotting feet.
It’s a soft cow’s milk cheese, and the rind is washed in marc de Bourgogne.
While you’d never call it a subtle smell, the taste is actually more mellow than you’d think, and it’s utterly delicious. It’s one of those cheeses that needs to be runny before you eat it, so that means that you have to put up with the smell for a while, otherwise it’s just not the same.
On our last trip to Burgundy, we ate in a great restaurant called Aupres du Clocher in Pommard, where they served a mousse d’époisses as one of the cheese courses.
We managed to track down the recipe, which is actually remarkably simple, but to make an authentic version you will need a siphon to create the lightness of the mousse.
The mousse is served at room temperature, in a glass or a cup, with a thin slice of ficelle baguette slathered with more cheese. You eat the mousse with a teaspoon, and you dunk the slice of cheesy baguette.
The surprise at the bottom of the mousse is that you’ll find some little squares of pain d’épices, which is a delicious combination with the cheese.
Ingredients (serves 6)
30cl liquid cream (crème liquide entière)
1 round of époisses cheese (250g)
2 slices of pain d’épices (spiced cake or gingebread)
1 ficelle baguette
Salt, pepper, paprika
Remove the rind from the époisses. You’ll want to wash your hands now.
Put the liquid cream and 150g of the époisses in a saucepan and place over a low heat. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of paprika.
Do not let the mixture boil!
When the cheese is melted, take it off the heat and let it steep for about 10 minutes.
Pass the mixture through a sieve, to make sure that you get rid of any lumps, which could clog the siphon.
Put the mixture in the siphon, and shake vigorously. Cool for 3 hours.
When serving, cut the pain d’épices into small cubes and put them in the bottom of each serving glass or cup.
Cut the baguette into 10cm pieces, slice in two, and lightly grill each slice.
Spread the rest of the époisses on the slices of baguette.
Shake the siphon briskly, and add the mousse to each serving glass.
[If you want to make your own pain d’épices, check out our recipe here from Andrea Swan.]