I knew that The Missus would say something about the smell, she tends to. The cheese sat, quietly in its box, for a week in our vegetable crisper before it began to waft through the refrigerator. The smell was strong enough to touch your nose, even when you opened the door to the freezer. But, being accustomed to comments being made when I’ve hidden a washed rind in the refrigerator, I preempted her and said, “It’s my cheese,” when she opened the door.
Pont l’Eveque is said to have existed, though known by another name, since the 12th century. It is produced by only 6 makers in the Normandy region of France, which is also home to Camembert, and they share the same wild mushroom aroma and velvety texture. Aside from the smell, the bright orange rind, which is created through the process of washing, brushing and turning which encourages the growth of Brevibacterium linens–known as B. linens in the cheese world.
Though around for over eight centuries, it did not gain AOC recognition until 1976. Today, that distinction requires the following in production:
- The milk must come from a controlled area around the village of Pont-l’Évêque, extending to the départments of Calvados, Eure, Manche, Mayenne, Orne and Sein-Maritime.
- The curd must be successively divided, kneaded and then drained.
- During affinage the cheeses must be washed, brushed and turned.
- The resulting cheese must be one of three sizes:
- Petit – 8.5-9.5 cm square, and a minimum of 85g of dry matter.
- Demi – 10.5-11.5 cm by 5.2-5.7 cm, with a minimum of 70g of dry matter.
- Grand – 19–21 cm square, with a minimum of 650g of dry matter.
Because she was so vocal about this cheese, I invited The Missus to join me in my tasting.
Milk: Pasteurized Cow
Brand: L. Graindorge
Rind: White, powdery-flour like rind with light orange hue underneath.
Paste: Stark white, small eyes; young in age.
Rind: Mushrooms*, feet*, raw broccoli*
Paste: Mushroom, hay
Mouthfeel: Creamy, but not runny, slightly firm at core
Paste: Slightly sour, peppery*, onion, hard boiled egg white.
Rind: Salty, nutty
*Notes from The Missus