This week’s French cheese adventure takes us to the Champagne region to discover Langres AOP. Originally, farmers of the region made this cheese by pouring warm cow’s milk into terracotta molds called fromettes. The cheese was eventually flipped out of the molds onto lime tree leaves. Then, left to dry and subsequently age on oat straw.
Langres received it’s AOP designation in 2012, signifying quality and certain standards of production. Yet this cheese had a Certified Designation of Origin since 1991. Today, this is a washed-rind, cow’s milk cheese produced with an intense process of successive washings throughout the maturation process. These washings result in a brilliant orange, bloomy rind and quite pungent aromas and flavors.
Named for the Langres high plains region of Champagne, this cheese is in the same stinky family as Époisses. However, I found its flavors much stronger and more potent than those of Époisses. Though after reading different websites, others say Langres is more mild. Personally, Langres wasn’t one of my favorites.
This cheese has a semi-soft texture. At room temperature, it becomes even more supple and completely melts in your mouth. Expect aromas of mushrooms, earth, and hay. For me, Langres had very strong flavors of mushrooms, grass, and hay, plus a piquant spiciness like that of radishes.
Traditionally, Marc de Bourgogne or a splash of Champagne fills the small indent in Langres’ domed top for optimal enjoyment.
Wine Pairings for Langres AOP Cheese
A Blanc de Noirs Champagne is the ideal pairing for Langres cheese. This style of Champagne is made using a majority of Pinot Noir grapes. The result is a fuller-bodied Champagne with a richer texture and often red or black fruit aromas. These characteristics are bold enough to stand alongside the cheese’s potent aromas and flavors. While Champagne’s high acidity is a delicious contrast to the supple, creamy texture of this French cheese.
Alternatively, pair this cheese with a dry Chardonnay from Puligny-Montrachet or a complex Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin. If you’re into them, oxidized white wines like Vernaccia di Oristano D.O.C. are fantastic alongside stinky cheeses like Langres AOP. Their aromas of nuts, mushrooms, and umami flavors are the perfect match for the flavors of this French fromage.