Nestled deep in the heart of France, amidst rolling hills and verdant pastures, lies a place where time seems to stand still. It is here, in the secluded tranquility of the Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire monastery, that one of the country’s most exceptional cheeses is carefully crafted by Trappist monks.
This artisanal cheese, with its rich flavor and unique texture, tells a story that stretches back over decades. Each wheel is a testament to the dedication and skill of the monks who create it, the quality of the local milk used, and the unique microclimate of the region.
Quick facts about Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire
|Country of Origin||France|
|Age||6 to 10 weeks|
|Classification||Semi-soft, Artisan, Monastery Cheese|
|Weight and shape||200 g (7 oz), Round|
|Size||Diameter 10 cm (4 inches), Height 2.5 cm (1 inch)|
|Producer||Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vivre|
|Texture||Soft, smooth, and supple interior|
|Flavor||Nutty, Tangy, Rich|
|Pairing||Full-bodied red wine, mix with mashed potatoes and grill|
What is Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire?
Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire is a French cheese produced in the Bourgogne region, specifically in the abbey from which it gets its name. This monastery is located in Saint-Léger-Vauban, in the Yonne department. The cheese is made by the monks who live there, following traditional cheesemaking methods.
This cheese is semi-soft and crafted from cow’s milk. It has a dense, creamy texture and a natural, edible rind. The flavor of Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire is rich and complex, often described as nutty and tangy. Its aroma is earthy and slightly musty, typical of many artisanal cheeses.
The cheese is typically aged for 2 to 3 months before it’s ready to be enjoyed. Its unique characteristics make it a favorite among cheese connoisseurs, particularly those who appreciate artisanal, monastery-made cheeses.
Fun fact about Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire
This benedictine abbey was founded in 1850 by a priest named Dom Muard in the Yonne region. In the 1920s, the cheese became extremely well-known for its delicious and semi-soft texture.
Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire is kinda similar to Epoisses and is made from the milk of Brune-des-Alpes cows (the monks’ herd of around 40 cows).
What does Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire taste like?
The Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire cheese offers a unique flavor profile that’s rich and complex. It is often described as having a nutty taste, balanced with a tangy undertone that adds depth to its overall flavor. The cheese’s richness comes from the high-quality cow’s milk used in its production, lending it a creamy and indulgent feel.
Aged for 2-3 months, this semi-soft cheese develops a natural rind that contributes an additional layer of earthiness to its taste. Over time, the aging process allows the flavors to mature and intensify, resulting in a cheese that’s not just delicious but also layered with interesting flavor notes.
Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire Tasting Notes
- Texture: The cheese has a semi-soft texture that is creamy and dense. It’s smooth to the palate, making it enjoyable to eat on its own or paired with other foods.
- Flavor: The flavor of Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire is rich and complex. You’ll likely detect a nutty taste, balanced by a tangy undertone that adds depth and complexity.
- Aroma: This cheese emits an earthy and slightly musty aroma. This is typical of many artisanal cheeses and adds to the overall sensory experience of enjoying this cheese.
- Rind: The rind of this cheese is natural and edible. It contributes an additional layer of earthiness to the cheese’s overall flavor profile.
- Pairings: Due to its robust flavor, Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire pairs well with full-bodied red wines and hearty breads. It can also be enjoyed with fruits like apples and pears, which provide a sweet contrast to its rich, tangy flavor.
- Aging: The cheese is aged for about 2-3 months. This aging process allows the flavors to mature and intensify, accentuating the nutty and tangy notes.
Like many artisan cheeses, the exact taste can vary slightly from batch to batch due to factors such as the specific practices of the cheesemaker and the season in which the cheese is produced. However, the consistent elements of nuttiness, tanginess, and rich creaminess make the Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire a distinctive and enjoyable cheese.
What goes well with Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire?
Food that goes well with Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire
- Mashed Potatoes: Mixing this cheese into mashed potatoes creates an indulgent side dish. The creamy texture and nutty taste of the cheese elevate the flavor of the mashed potatoes.
- Chicory and Walnut Salad: The tangy, nutty flavors of Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire complement the bitterness of chicory and the crunchy texture of walnuts, creating a balanced and flavorful salad.
- Fresh Fruit: Pairing fresh fruits like apples, pears, or grapes with this cheese makes for a refreshing and satisfying snack. The sweetness of the fruit contrasts beautifully with the rich, complex flavors of the cheese.
- Traditional French Dishes: Adding Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire to traditional French dishes can enhance their depth and richness. The cheese is versatile enough to be incorporated into a range of recipes.
- Quince Jelly: This sweet and tangy jelly balances the earthy, nutty flavors of the cheese, creating a delightful contrast. This pairing is perfect for a dessert course or as part of a cheese platter.
Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?
Beverage that goes well with Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire
- Chablis: A white wine from the Burgundy region of France, Chablis is known for its bright acidity and mineral notes. This wine can cut through the richness of the cheese and complement its earthy flavors.
- Bourgogne Wines: These wines from the Burgundy region offer a range of flavors that can pair well with Abbaye de la Pierre-qui-Vire. Both red and white varieties can work depending on personal preference.
- Craft Beers: Certain craft beers, particularly those with a balance of maltiness and bitterness, can provide a nice contrast to the rich, creamy texture and nutty flavor of this cheese.
- Auxois Wines: Wines from the Auxois region of Burgundy are also mentioned as a good pairing. These wines can vary in flavor, but generally offer a balance of fruit and acidity that complements the cheese.
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