Monday, December 26, 2016

Was That Epoisses? I Don't Think So.

Ahh, the REAL king of cheeses, Epoisses. It's the royal cheese, a fromage for cheese snobs everywhere. It's expensive. It's stinky, and it's divine. I reviewed the beautiful product here: Epoisses Review. As anyone can see, it's a favorite of mine, unless it's one that's not properly cared for, which, sadly, I experienced recently.

I will begin by saying that I have had some phenomenal Epoisses in the last few years, so when I went to purchase a round that was advertised as being on sale for half price in early December, I was really, really looking forward to taking my first bite of the soft, creamy paste. I didn't think too much of it when the rind looked a bit more orange than I remembered. Slight variations can occur from season to season. It wasn't until I got home and opened the package that I started to worry. The aroma was stronger than I remembered, very much on the pungent side. Epoisses is a funky cheese, but it's no Limburger.

Hervé Mons is an outstanding affineur. I like pretty much all the cheeses I have tried with his name on the label. His Epoisses, a relatively new product I assume, is the exception. In all my years of sampling and eating cheese, I have never returned a cheese product, until now. This was terrible. I can't think of another time when I couldn't consume a cheese. When I tried this version, against my better judgment, it tasted like the smell of horse urine. Yuck. The ammonia flavor was overwhelming and almost burned my throat. This was not merely old or overly aged cheese. I have tried Epoisses well past its prime and can assure you that it's not this bad. What I tried had no resemblance to Epoisses whatsoever.

If you're looking to buy Epoisses, stick to the classics.

Image result for epoisses cheese
This is what good Epoisses should look like.