A Great Value Washed Rind Cheese – Fleur d”Aunis
I really like this cheese because it is a “value” cheese” however it is still an imported cheese from France so it’s not going to be that inexpensive.
It’s also a “washed rind” cheese that is first bathed in Pineau des Charentes, a Cognac-fortified aperitif wine and then brushed gently with salt water. This salt re-crystalizes on the rind to give it some additional texture so if you enjoy eating cheese rinds, you’re going to like this one.
Fleur d’Aunis or Flower of Aunis is a pungent cheese, what I like to call a “stinky” cheese but in a good way. It is made from pasteurized cow’s milk and has a 50% fat content.
With a meaty mouth feel and buttery taste, throw in a little briny-nutty flavor and you have a great cheese for all occasions. I paid around $15 per pound where most of the washed rind cheeses, except for Taleggio, sell for $22 and up.
Washed Rind Basics
“Washed rind” is a way to describe cheeses that have their exteriors washed with mildly salted water to help attract bacteria essential for developing the moist rinds with their distinctive reddish color and wonderful pungent smell.
There are high moisture content washed rind cheeses like Taleggio and Epoisse that get broken down by the bacteria with age and become creamier over time. When they are perfectly ripe, the soft interior will actually ooze but remember they also get “slinkier” with all that oozing.
Other washed rind cheeses that start with lower moisture content like Gruyère or Appenzeller actually become firmer and drier as they age.
Fleur d’Aunis – The Short of It
Milk Type: pasteurized cow’s milk
Region: Charentes-Poitou – north-west coast of France
Wheel Weight: 6.5 pounds
Rind: Sticky, gritty to the touch, pale orange, edible
Paste: Golden yellow, smooth but with fissures & a little rubbery
Taste: rich, buttery, nutty & just a little bit tangy
Aroma: The rind smells like wet hay in a barn while the paste smells nutty with mushroom aromas
Fat content: 50%
Aging Time: 1 month