After a year-plus of eating a new cheese almost every week, one inevitably begins to compare the fine fromages to one another. This one may be packaged like Cheese A but smell like Cheese B, or it comes from Country X but tastes like the specimens from Country Y. So when I unwrapped my 6-oz. cylinder of Langres yesterday, I couldn’t help but think, “Hey, this comes in a box like Camembert, has a similar shape to Le Chevrot and tastes like Red Hawk.” So do all those comparisons add up to a positive cheese experience? You betcha!

Langres is one of those cheeses you’ll find sold whole in most shops, thanks to its diminutive size, and it’s actually an excellent cheese when you want the funky yeastiness of Red Hawk but don’t want to purchase a large wheel. Though the Langres you’d buy in France would be made with raw cow’s milk from the Champagne region, the imported version is pasteurized since the cheese isn’t aged for very long (anywhere from 15 to 90 days). If properly handled and stored, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on the raw-milk goodness – pasteurized Langres still has the kick you’d expect from a raw-milk cheese, plus the creaminess that soft-cheese lovers favor. The cheese is known for an indentation at the top in which diners traditionally poured champagne or another spirit to enrich the cheese. I prefer to have my bubbly on the side rather than on top of my cheese, but give it a try if you’re inclined. And don’t be alarmed by the cheese’s orange color – it’s supposed to look like that!

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