Welcome to a voyage of culinary discovery, where we delve into the world of cheese and unearth the secrets of one particularly exquisite variety: Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc. This is not just a story about cheese, but an exploration of history, culture, tradition, and taste.
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc, a cheese that bears the name of its origin, the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Belloc in France’s Basque country, is a testament to the time-honored traditions of monastic cheesemaking. It’s a cheese that is as rich in history as it is in flavor.
In this short post, we will journey through the verdant pastures of the Pyrenees, into the tranquil silence of the monastery, and finally to your plate, offering a taste of a timeless tradition that has been meticulously preserved over centuries. We will unravel the nuances of its taste, texture, and aroma, and explore the perfect pairings to enhance your gastronomic experience.
So, whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a curious foodie, join us as we embark on this savory journey to understand and appreciate the unique charm of Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc. Bon appétit!
Quick Facts About Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc
|Country of Origin||France|
|Region||Urt, Aquitaine, Basque Country|
|Age||4 to 10 months (Best around 6 months)|
|Classification||Semi-hard, artisan, monastic|
|Producer||The Benedictine monks of Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc|
|Milk||Sheep (Red-nosed breed of Ewes) – unpasteurized|
|Weight and shape||5.5 kg (12 lb), Round|
|Size||Diameter 25 cm (10 inches), Height 8.5 cm (3.5 inches)|
|Taste||Sweetness with hints of fruit|
|Aroma||Caramel-like and buttery aroma with hints of nut|
|Pairing||Sweet white wine such as Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh or Sauternes|
|Texture||Crusty rind marked with tiny craters; supple and soft paste|
|Color||Greyish-brown (rind), Ivory or pale yellow (inside)|
What is Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc?
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc is a traditional, artisanal cheese made by the Benedictine monks of the Notre-Dame de Belloc abbey, located in the Basque region of Aquitaine, France. This monastery has been producing this unique cheese since the 1960s, using unpasteurized milk from the local Manech ewes.
The cheese is semi-hard with a natural rind, dense and smooth texture, and an ivory or pale yellow color. It is aged for 4 to 10 months, during which it develops a mildly sweet, nutty, and fruity flavor with hints of caramel. The aroma is milky with a slight sheepy note.
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc pairs well with robust red wines and dark beers. It’s not just a delicious cheese but also a reflection of the rich monastic traditions and the pastoral lifestyle of the Basque region.
What does Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc taste like?
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc has a distinct, complex flavor profile due to its traditional and artisanal production method. The cheese is known for its mildly sweet, nutty, and fruity flavors. As it ages, it develops hints of caramel that add to the richness of its taste. Its sheep milk origin also gives it a unique, slightly sheepy note.
The texture is dense, smooth, and slightly grainy, providing a satisfying mouthfeel. Despite its complexity, the overall taste is balanced and not overpowering, making it a favorite among cheese connoisseurs.
Abbaye de Belloc Tasting Notes
- Texture: The cheese has a dense, smooth, and slightly grainy texture. It’s semi-hard, making it firm yet yielding to the touch.
- Color: The interior of the cheese, or the paste, is an ivory or pale yellow color. The natural rind can vary in color from pale yellow to brown.
- Aroma: It exudes a milky aroma with a slight sheepy note, reflecting its ewe milk origin.
- Flavor: Abbaye de Belloc has a mildly sweet flavor profile, combined with nutty undertones. As the cheese ages, it develops fruity notes and hints of caramel, adding to its complexity.
- Aftertaste: The aftertaste is generally mild and lingering, with the sweet and nutty flavors subtly persisting.
- Pairings: This cheese pairs well with robust red wines and dark beers that can stand up to its rich flavor. It also goes well with fruits like apples and pears, as well as crusty bread and charcuterie.
- Overall: The taste experience of Abbaye de Belloc is multi-dimensional, offering a balance of sweetness, nuttiness, and fruitiness with a hint of caramel. Its complex flavor, coupled with its smooth texture, makes it a unique and enjoyable cheese to savor.
What pairs well with Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc
Food that goes well with Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc:
|Fruits||Apples, Pears, Figs, Grapes|
|Breads||Baguette, Whole grain bread, Crackers|
|Charcuterie||Prosciutto, Salami, Chorizo|
|Nuts||Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts|
|Jams/Preserves||Fig jam, Apricot preserves, Quince paste|
|Honey||Raw honey, Truffle honey|
|Olives||Kalamata olives, Green olives|
|Condiments||Whole grain mustard, Olive tapenade|
|Vegetables||Roasted red peppers, Marinated artichokes|
|Desserts||Dark chocolate, Almond cookies|
Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?
Beverage that goes well with Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc:
|Wine||Sweet White Wine, Pinot Noir|
|Beer||Dark Ales, Stout|
|Non-Alcoholic||Sparkling Water, Apple Cider|
Where to Buy Abbaye de Belloc:
- Au fromager de Rungis – See price when logged in to the site
- Gourmet Food World – 2 lbs for $65.75
- Wally Wine – 1 lb for $32.00
More Cheeses from France: