World Cheese Encyclopaedia - Each Sunday learn all about a cheese in season.
This week Coulommiers from France.
Country: France 🇫🇷
Made from: Cow 's Milk
Pasteurised: Yes or No
Taste: Buttery, nutty
Aging: 3 - 8 weeks
Coulommiers cheese is named after 'Coulommiers' commune in the Seine-et-Marne department from France, as this is the place where it was produced for the first time.
Coulommiers is a soft ripened cheese from Coulommiers in the Seine-et-Marne department of France. It is made from cow's milk, and is usually in the shape of a disc with white, bloomy, edible Penicillium candidum rind. When produced as an artisanal or "farmhouse" cheese from unpasteurized milk, it has some reddish blush in parts of the rind. The period of ripening when made of pasteurised whole milk is about four to six weeks. The fat content is 40 per cent.
This cheese is Brie's little brother; or some say that it is the grandfather. It is smaller and thicker than Brie but otherwise possesses all the characteristics of a Brie. The cheese can be either farmed or industrially produced. Its taste is sweet and melting, with an almond flavour. One should choose a Coulommiers which is soft to the touch with a white heart set in a pate of pale yellow. Its white velvet rind has a slight reddish pigmentation. The pâte is very supple and soft.
Coulommiers is made from partly skimmed milk. The curd is moulded with a ladle or with a curd spreader into moulds that are 10-to-14-cm tall and 12 to 15 cm in diameter. It is removed from the moulds, salted, then inoculated on all sides with Penicillium candidum. The cheeses are generally aged for about four weeks, during which time they undergo several turnings and are sometimes placed on wooden boards in order to perfect the drying process. It is said that producers thought of making Coulommiers in a smaller size as early as the 11th century in order to make the fragile, crumbly cheese easier to transport.
The cheese was named after the town of Coulommiers because it was the location of the market that was closest to where it was produced.
The Coulommiers Cheese and Wine Festival takes place each year in the town on the Sunday before Easter.
In 1930, there were 250 cheesemakers coming from Coulommiers, selling their cheese to “affineurs” at the Coulommiers market every Wednesday. In 1946, affineurs started to make cheese. Meanwhile, the number of cheesemakers declined, they were only 60 left in 1946. They were all making brie de Coulommiers (by definition) of different sizes, but only the specific size, diameter 13 to 15 cm (5.1–5.9 in), was unique to the Coulommiers market. Today, this cheese is commonly called Coulommiers.
How to enjoy it
Coulommiers tastes the best when served with apples, pears or fresh berries at the end of the meal. It pairs particularly well with a smooth, fruity red wine like Bourgueil or Côte de Beaune.
Source: Wikipedia, Cheese.com, President.uk.com, Fromages.com