Tuesday, March 12, 2013

St Soleil, Another Herve Mons Hit!

When I was at the Fancy Food show back in January, I was super excited to try this new cheese from Herve Mons at the training that we had with him. The cheese is St. Soleil - a beautiful washed rind cheese from Burgundy.



Cheese: St. Soleil (Soleil means sun in French)
Producer: Herve Mons

Location: Burgundy, France
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

If you have ever had Epoisses, this cheese is very similar... almost like an entry level Epoisses. The St. Soleil, like the Epoisses, is washed with Marc de Bourgogne. Marc de Bourgogne is a French spirit that is made using the leftover skins, pulps and seeds from the wine making process. By washing this cheese twice a day with the Marc de Bourgogne the cheese develops the orange color that you see from B-Linens (naturally occurring bacteria) that are attracted to the type of environment that is on the surface of this cheese (and all other washed rind cheeses). B-Linens are also responsible for the pungent smell that washed rind cheeses have. The B-Linens are actually a part of the same family of bacteria that produce body odor, so being smelly is in their nature!


Now if you can get past the funky, barnyardy, woodsy smell, you are in for quite a treat! The cheese, when fully ripened, is just a goopey heaven - hence the need to put it in a wooden round in order to keep its shape. Enjoy this cheese like you would a fondue - grab a baguette and dig in!


For me, this cheese reminded me so much of how beef broth tastes... it's a little salty, but meaty and savory. The salt is balanced out by the creamy flavors present. I call this an entry level Epoisses because the flavors aren't as intense. If you're in an adventurous, smelly cheese mood, I recommend grabbing one of these tasty little rounds. They are exclusive to Whole Foods Market, so you won't be able to find them anywhere else! Come on by the cheese counter and get yours today!

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!

p.s. If you're going to be in the Petaluma area the weekend of 3/22 - 3/24 stop on by the California Artisan Cheese Festival! I will be teaching a course on how to build cheese plates with some of my WFM colleagues that Saturday, 3/23 from 1:30pm - 3:30pm. For more information and the schedule of events, please visit http://artisancheesefestival.com/schedule-of-events/ I hope to see some of you there!!

6 comments:

  1. I just got this cheese from Whole Foods. I never had a cheese I didn't like. I have had some cheeses I didn't love but that was as far as it had ever gotten until I ate this cheese. The ammonia smell was not the worst part. The after taste was like drinking ammonia. I gave some to my dog and he regurgitated it back up all over my steps. I would never buy this cheese again. I have been around the world several times and tried just about everything twice. You will not catch me eating this cheese ever again. I had to was my mouth out with an espresso, chocolate and a good brushing with Tom's toothpaste. And honestly I ate it about two hours ago and I can't get the thought of that cheese out of my mind... I am the type of guy that could brush my teeth with Roquefort five times a day. This cheese is unedible.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear that! It sounds like you got a really old one... I would definitely let the people behind the cheese counter at the Whole Foods where you purchased it know about your experience. They'll need to check the other St Soleil's that they have in their case. This cheese is actually very tasty and I'm so sorry that you (and your dog!) had such a bad experience. :(

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  2. As a result of spending a great deal of time at the cheese counter at our local Whole Foods and enjoying a good conversation about cheese with the two young ladies working the counter, we were given a box of this cheese because it wasn't selling very well and they told us that we seemed to be the kind of people who would enjoy it. Well, it stunk the high heavens all the way back home. However, once we opened it up and began to eat it, oh how sweet and delicate the flavor. Yes, please, may I have some more? I plan to get this again.

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! It really is one of my favorite cheeses... :)

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  3. I just bought this cheese on sale. Taste is a lot milder than the smell, which smells like unwashed feet. I really liked it. It really goes well with sodas, so it would really go well with desert wine.

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    1. Woohoo! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. This year's batch is quite delightful. And a dessert wine would be a lovely accompaniment. :)

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