Washed Rind Cheese

Washed rind cheese - a pungent aroma with a sweet and earthy flavour

Washed rind cheese – a pungent aroma with a sweet and earthy flavour

Washed rind cheese has been made in Europe since the middle ages.  The monks used it as a substitute for meat during times when they were fasting.  They are one of the more intriguing cheeses as they have a pale orange coating, a delicious centre and a wild aroma. These cheeses come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

These cheeses are treated with a surface culture of bacteria. The bacteria on the rind ripens the curd from the outside towards the centre. This style of cheese is frequently washed with a brine (salt water) solution 2 or 3 times a week while maturing. This helps to control the growth of the bacteria and prevent the cheese from becoming slimy.  It also keeps the cheese soft and supple and helps develop its great flavour.

Washed rind cheese can be soft or semi-hard.  Soft washed rind cheese (eg. Taleggio) has an outside rind with a soft, creamy, straw coloured centre.  Semi-hard washed rind (eg. Morbier) has a more supple centre.

Choose a washed rind cheese with a well developed sticky,orange coating.  These cheeses are best eaten when close to the “best before” date.  Although they may be quite smelly, the flavour will be fully developed.  Make sure you serve the cheese at room temperature to get its full flavour.  Washed rind cheese is great served with any of the following: pickles, gherkins, a rich red meat, kangaroo, venison, bacon, potatoes, dates, mushrooms and sour dough bread.  Enjoy these cheeses with a sparklling or medium bodied red wine, a dessert wine, Muscat, Port or Tokay or with your favourite beer.

Store washed rind cheese sealed in a packet in the refirgerator.  Its strong aroma may flavour other products in the refrigerator so keep well wrapped and sealed.

 

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