Tomme d’Abondance or Abondance is a medium-sized mountain cheese from the Haute Savoie region of France in the Rhone-Alps. For centuries, this deep golden cheese has been made in mountain chalets, near the border between France and Switzerland. It is made exclusively from unpasteurised milk produced by the Abondance breed of cattle. Since 1990, the cheese has been enjoying the prestigious AOC designation. The handcrafted, wheel-shaped cheese, is made using traditional methods only in the geographical area specified by AOC/PDO label.
It has a strong smell and an intensely fruity, buttery and hazelnut flavour, with balance of acidity and sweetness, followed by a lingering aftertaste. Unearth an aroma of nutty vegetation as you slice the cheese. However, remember the crust including the grey layer beneath, should be removed before eating. Firm but supple and slightly grainy, the texture of the ivory-yellow pâté is creamy and velvety. Its rind is smooth with an amber colour showing canvas marks. The affinage takes at least 100 days, so all the subtle aromas are realized.
Abondance can be eaten straight off, or added to salads or melted in Berthoud.
Gorgonzola is a soft, creamy Italian blue cheese that is a member of the Stracchino family of cheeses. Gorgonzola originated in the town of the same name near Milan, Italy in the 8th century. Prior to being called Gorgonzola, the cheese was generically called “green stracchino”. By 1970, a Consortium for the protection of Gorgonzola cheese was created in order to protect and oversee the production of Gorgonzola. In 1996, Gorgonzola was granted PDO (Designation of Protected Origin) status, which governs how and where Gorgonzola is produced in either the Piedmont or Lombardy regions of Italy.
Valençay cheese is one of the classic French cheeses made in the province of Berry in central France. It is named after the town of Valençay in the Indre department, France.
This cheese comes in two types: the one coated with wood ash and produced on farms is called Valençay Fermier while the other coated with vegetable ash and made in dairies or industries is called Valençay Laitier.
Valençay is an unpasteurised goats-milk cheese. Its rind has a rustic blue-grey colour which is made of the natural moulds. The rind is then darkened by dusting charcoal powder. It is available usually between March and December, with peak manufacture between April and August.
Valençay cheese used to have a shape of a perfect pyramid with a pointed top. But when Napoleon returned to the castle of Valencay after his unsuccessful expedition in Egypt, he saw the cheese, in a fit of rage drew his sword and cut off the top of the cheese. Since then the cheese has always been made with a flattened top.
Bleu des Causses is a French blue cheese made from milk of Montbeliarde and Aubrac breeds of cow. A close cousin to Roquefort, it is produced in the Languedoc region of southern France and was granted AOC name protection in 1979. Traditionally, the cheese was made from a mixture of sheep’s milk mixed either with cow’s or goat’s milk. But according to French cheese laws, the cheese came to be made exclusively from cow’s milk. Bleu des Causses has a high-fat content of 45% and is matured for at least seventy days. However, the cheese can also be matured for up to six months in Gorges du Tarn’s natural limestone caves to develop a full and fine flavour. The cheese is similar to Blue d’Auvergne in many ways, despite Bleu des Causses having a noticeably firmer, creamier texture and spicy flavours. Bleu des Causses produced in winter and summer slightly differ in texture and flavour. Cheeses made in winter are light in colour than their summer equals. The winter produce also tends to be slightly drier. A taste of the Bleu des Causses will proffer a blend of rich milkiness amidst the peppery and spicy notes of the blue mould. The summer produce brings out their unique grassy and clover flavours.