Welcome to a flavor journey that takes us to the heart of Flanders, where we’ll discover the unique and delicious world of Bergues cheese.
Originating from the historic town of Bergues in northern France, this semi-hard, washed rind cheese is a culinary treasure steeped in tradition and local culture.
In this post, we’ll embark on a gastronomic adventure, unraveling the rich history, distinct characteristics, and complex flavors of Bergues cheese.
From its humble beginnings in the monastic era to its contemporary production methods, Bergues cheese encapsulates the essence of the region’s heritage.
Get ready to experience a slice of historical Flanders like never before!
Quick Facts About Bergues
|Country of Origin||France|
|Region||Nord-Pas-de-Calais (Hauts-de-France region), specifically the town of Bergues near Dunkirk|
|Age||Typically aged for about 4 to 5 weeks (up to 2 months)|
|Milk||Raw semi-skimmed cow’s milk (traditionally sourced from local farms)|
|Weight and shape||2 kg (4 lb 6 oz), Round|
|Fat content||15 to 25%|
|Size||Diameter 20 cm (8 inches); Height 4.5 cm (2 inches)|
|Flavor profile||Creamy and slightly tangy flavor. It also has a hint of bitterness that adds to its unique taste.|
|Taste||Sharp, distinctive, sweet|
|Rind||Washed rind. During the aging process, the cheese is regularly washed in beer or brine, contributing to its complex flavor.|
|Pairing||Pasta, ratatouille, light wine, chilled beer|
|Texture||Supple, smooth, elastic|
What is Bergues?
Bergues is a semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese from the town of Bergues near Dunkirk, in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France. It’s known for its creamy and slightly tangy flavor with a hint of bitterness, which makes it quite unique.
The cheese is cream-colored with small holes throughout, and it boasts a washed rind. During the aging process, which lasts about 4 to 5 weeks, the cheese is regularly washed in beer or brine. This washing contributes to its complex flavor profile and the development of its distinctive rind.
Bergues is perfect for melting and makes a delicious addition to sandwiches, burgers, and raclette. It pairs well with lighter wines like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc and also goes well with fruity beers. While it’s more commonly found in France, many specialty cheese shops around the world may carry Bergues.
What Does Bergues Taste Like?
Bergues is a French semi-soft cheese known for its subtle and sweet flavor. This distinct taste is a result of the unique process in which it is made.
Bergues cheese is a raw milk cheese that is refined in beer, in a natural cellar, to fully express its flavor. The cheese is often washed with brine and beer during the aging process, which gives it a sharp and distinctive flavor.
This aromatic cheese from the historical Flanders province in the Nord-Pas de Calais region is not vegetarian as it’s made from raw, partly-skimmed cow’s milk.
Though the taste of Bergues is pronounced, it isn’t overpowering, making it a delightful addition to many dishes.
Bergues Tasting Notes
- Texture: Semi-soft texture that’s both creamy and supple. It has small holes throughout the cheese.
- Color: Cream-colored, which can vary slightly depending on the season and diet of the cows.
- Smell: Strong, distinctive smell due to the washed rind process, which involves regularly washing the cheese in beer or brine during the aging process.
- Taste: Offers a complex flavor profile. It’s creamy with a slight tanginess and a hint of bitterness. The taste is subtly sweet, yet pronounced but not overpowering.
- Aftertaste: The aftertaste of Bergues lingers pleasantly, with a subtle hint of the beer or brine it was washed in.
- Pairings: Pairs well with lighter wines such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. It also complements fruity beers and rustic breads.
- Usage: Due to its semi-soft texture, Bergues melts well making it a delicious addition to sandwiches, burgers, and raclette. It can also be enjoyed on its own or with crackers.
What Goes Well With Bergues?
Food that goes well with Bergues:
|Bread/Crackers||Rustic bread, Whole grain crackers, Baguette|
|Fruit/Vegetables||Sliced apples, Grapes, Dried fruits (figs, apricots), Olives|
|Meat/Protein||Prosciutto, Salami, Smoked salmon|
|Condiments||Fig jam, Honey, Grainy mustard|
|Nuts||Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans|
|Desserts||Dark chocolate, Fresh berries|
Beverage that goes well with Bergues:
|White Wine||Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Riesling|
|Red Wine||Light-bodied Pinot Noir, Beaujolais|
|Beer||Belgian Ale, Wheat Beer, Fruity Beers|
|Cider||Dry Apple Cider, Pear Cider|
|Non-Alcoholic||Sparkling water, Apple Juice|
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