Époisses is probably the smelliest cheese we stock alongside Stinking Bishop. There is a legend that the smell is so potent that French law officially banned it from the Parisian public transport system!
This cheese has been made for centuries in France, Cistercian monks based in the village of Époisses originally shared their knowledge of how to make it with the local women who in turn passed it to the next generation and so on.
Our Époisses is made by traditional Burgundy cheesemaker Fromagerie Gaugry who are the only producer left in France to still make raw milk Époisses. Their milk is supplied by around 30 local farms that are located within the area defined by the AOC - Cote-d'Or, Haute-Marne and Yonne departments.The Fromagerie use milk from three breeds of cow well known for their high quality cheesemaking milk - Brune; French Simmental; and Montbéliarde.
Époisses is a washed rind cheese - but instead of being washed in brine as is usual during the ageing process it is washed in locally made Burgundy Marc Bourgogne brandy made from grape skins from the nearby vineyards. This is what gives it its sticky, wrinkly, distinctive coloured rind.
The cheese has floral aromas with meaty, spicy flavours. Inside the cheese is a lovely beige colour, very soft, smooth and shiny. Younger cheeses come in a little crumbly, gradually becoming softer as they mature.
Younger cheeses pair well with white wine and more mature cheeses with red wine - preferably from the local area so a Côte de Beaune or a Savigny-les-Beaune. For beer pairing we would recommend Trappist beers.
The cheesemaker recommends eating this cheese towards the end of a cheeseboard so that it's strength doesn't overpower the rest of the cheeses on the board.