World Cheese Encyclopaedia - Each Sunday learn all about a cheese in season. This week Chaource from France.
Country: France 🇫🇷
Region: Chaource, Aube
Made from: Cow’s milk
Pasteurised: both pasteurized and unpasteurised
Texture: soft, slightly crumbly
Taste: buttery, milky
Certification: AOC & AOP
Aging: 2 – 8 weeks
Chaource is a French cheese, originally manufactured in the village of Chaource in the Champagne-Ardenne region. This cylindrical shaped cheese has a soft-ripened, creamy and a little bit crumbly, non-elastic texture. Chaource is a cow's milk cheese, cylindrical in shape at around 10 cm in diameter and 6 cm in height, weighing either 250 or 450 g. The central pâte is soft, creamy in colour, and slightly crumbly, and is surrounded by a white Penicillium candidum rind. Its weight varies between 300 and 600 grams. The maturing process lasts between 2 weeks and 2 months, in a dry, cool, humid cheese cellar. It has a geometrical shape with a white, velvety rind and a rather intense odour of mould. Many people like to eat young Chaource, when its rind is hardly formed whereas others eat after it attains full maturation. During its ageing time, the cheese has a bit salty, buttery and milky taste. It contains 25% fat.
The history of the Chaource cheese is most probably ancient. It is thought that the Chaource cheese was made by the monks at the neighbouring Abbey of Pontivy. Its name comes from the town in the Aube region where it was sold at market. The first traces of the cheese of Chaource or the equivalent come from the 12th Century, however, the farmers of the village were taxed on what they produced which took away important quantities of cheese. The Chaource cheese was well known in the 14th Century. Charles Bel, on passing through Chaource, was presented with the cheese, and Marguerite de Bourgogne, wife of Louis X le Hutin, insisted that the cheese be present at her table. In the 19th Century, the farmers of the Chaource region were already making a cheese called "Chaource cheese." There were market traders who collected the cheese from the farms and re-sold it at the markets of the region. The Chaource cheese was an item of commercial importance and became renowned in the principle market places of France: Paris, Lyon, Dijon, Toulouse, Reims, Metz, Douai, Clermont-Ferrand, Annency and Lons-le-Saunier. At the beginning of the 19th Century, a trader named M. DEOTTE launched the Chaource cheese and transported it to Paris by horse and carriage.
How to enjoy it
Chaource pairs well with Champagne / Pommard ou Mercurey.
Source: Androuet, Fromages-aop.com, Fromages-de-terroirs.com, cheese.com, Wikipedia