I understand the FDA has a purpose, and a very important one at that, but it does stand in the cheese lover’s way sometimes. It prohibits those delectable, young raw-milk cheeses from entering our fair country, so Americans have to travel abroad to taste some of the very finest cheeses, like France’s Reblochon. I have no plans to travel to France anytime soon, so instead I’ll make do with Fleur des Alpes, a pasteurized version of the French classic, and then dream of the time Colleen and I can spend two weeks in France gorging on forbidden cheeses. (If anyone would like to fund said trip, please contact us immediately.)

Hailing from the lush Savoie region of France, Fleur des Alpes is a nutty cow’s-milk cheese that’s easy to enjoy. Yes, it has that earthy, funky smell most washed-rind cheeses emanate, but that’s partly what makes it so good. That stinky-cheese smell usually signals to me that this cheese means business. After sitting at room temperature for an hour or two, Fleur des Alpes doesn’t develop a runny interior, but the toothy, even rubbery texture is still pleasing in the mouth. Paired with a hearty bread and some fruit, the cheese would be a satisfying snack before a hike – or a serious day of shopping.

As for wine pairings, Wine Spectator recommends a dry Riesling from Alsace or Austria. Steven Jenkins suggests a fruity red for its counterpart, Reblochon, so I assume one would also be suitable with Fleur des Alpes. The butteriness of the cheese might be too much when paired with a sweet wine. If you want to add a sweet note to your snack, choose fresh berries as an accompaniment.

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