Today, we’re diving into the rich, creamy universe of Bouton de Culotte, a traditional cheese hailing from the picturesque regions of Mâconnais and Haut-Beaujolais in Burgundy. This button-shaped delight, true to its name, is a small wonder weighing just 30-40 grams but packed with a flavor that is nothing short of extraordinary.
Its name translates to ‘trouser button,’ hinting at its petite size and unique shape. Despite its modest dimensions, Bouton de Culotte stands out for its robust flavor profile, evolving from young and fresh to old and peppery.
In this post, we’ll explore the history, production process, and tasting notes of Bouton de Culotte, giving you a comprehensive guide to this tiny yet flavorful French gem. So, whether you’re a seasoned cheese connoisseur or a curious foodie, join us on this gastronomic journey as we unravel the mysteries of Bouton de Culotte, the smallest French goat’s milk cheese, also affectionately known as “Cabrion” or “Chevreton du Mâconnais”.
Quick Facts About Bouton de Culotte
|Country of Origin
|Aged fresh, artisanal
|Raw goat’s milk
|2 weeks to 2 months
|60 g (2 oz)
|5 cm (2 inches)
|4 cm (1.57 inches)
|3.5 cm (1.37 inches)
|Peppery, goaty milk taste, salty, hints of ground nuts, tongue-tingling finish
|Sancerre, full-bodied vintages of Mâconnais and Côte Chalonnaise
|Yellowish rind, brownish rind
What is Bouton de Culotte?
Bouton de Culotte, which translates to ‘pants button’, is a fascinating type of cheese hailing from the Limousin region of France. This small, artisanal cheese is crafted from goat’s milk and is renowned for its unique button-like shape, hence the name.
The making of Bouton de Culotte is an art in itself. The cheese is carefully hand-ladled into molds, and then allowed to mature for about two weeks. During this aging process, the cheese develops a natural, edible rind that enhances its flavor profile.
One of the most striking features of Bouton de Culotte is its texture. It boasts a creamy and dense consistency that is incredibly pleasing to the palate. But it’s not just the texture that makes this cheese stand out – it’s also the flavor. Bouton de Culotte offers a tangy, slightly acidic taste with a subtle hint of nuttiness.
But what truly makes Bouton de Culotte interesting is its versatility. This cheese is a delightful addition to a cheese platter, paired with fresh fruit, drizzled with honey, or savored with a glass of light white wine. Whether it’s used as an appetizer, a dessert cheese, or simply enjoyed on its own, Bouton de Culotte is a testament to the richness and diversity of French cheese-making tradition.
What Does Bouton de Culotte Taste Like?
Bouton de Culotte is known for its robust and distinct flavor profile. It is often described as having a strong, sharp flavor with a peppery aroma. This cheese is characterized by its distinctive goaty taste, which includes hints of ground nuts and feels somewhat dry in the mouth.
The cheese’s flavor can change significantly depending on its age. While it can be enjoyed young, many cheese enthusiasts prefer it old or extra-old, during which time a peppery taste becomes more prominent.
Despite its strong flavors, Bouton de Culotte also has a mild and tangy side. Its dense, creamy texture can become quite oozy, providing a pleasant, “friendly” eating experience.
In conclusion, Bouton de Culotte offers a complex taste sensation that combines strong, sharp, and peppery notes with a distinctive goaty flavor. Its unique taste and texture make it a must-try for any cheese lover.
Bouton de Culotte Tasting Notes
- Appearance: Bouton de Culotte is a small, round cheese that resembles a button, hence its name. It has a natural, edible rind with a white to ivory color.
- Texture: This cheese boasts a dense, creamy texture. When young, it’s firm and slightly crumbly, but as it ages, it becomes softer and can even be slightly oozy.
- Aroma: Bouton de Culotte has a distinct, pungent aroma that can be attributed to the goat’s milk from which it is made. Some may also notice a subtle earthy scent.
- Flavor: The flavor of Bouton de Culotte is complex and robust. It offers a tangy, slightly acidic taste with a hint of nuttiness. As it ages, the flavor can become more pronounced and develop a peppery note.
- Aftertaste: The finish is long-lasting and leaves a pleasant tangy aftertaste in your mouth.
- Pairings: Bouton de Culotte pairs well with fresh fruit, honey, and light white wines. It can also be enjoyed with crusty bread or crackers.
Note: the flavor and texture of Bouton de Culotte can vary depending on its age and the specific techniques used by the cheesemaker. Therefore, each tasting experience can be incredibly unique.
Food that goes well with Bouton de Culotte:
Fruits and Vegetables:
- Fresh figs: Their natural sweetness balances the tangy flavor of the cheese.
- Grapes: A classic cheeseboard staple that pairs well with most cheeses.
- Apples: Their crisp texture and sweet-tart flavor make a great contrast to the creamy cheese.
- Arugula: Its peppery flavor complements the nutty undertones of Bouton de Culotte.
Breads and Crackers:
- Baguette: The crusty exterior and soft interior pair well with the cheese’s texture.
- Whole grain crackers: These provide a hearty base for the cheese.
- Walnut bread: Adds a delightful crunch and nutty flavor that complements the cheese.
- Prosciutto: Its saltiness contrasts nicely with the tangy, nutty flavor of the cheese.
- Salami: Offers a robust flavor that can stand up to the strong flavor of Bouton de Culotte.
Sweets and Condiments:
- Honey: Drizzling a bit of honey on Bouton de Culotte enhances its inherent sweetness.
- Fig jam: Its sweet and slightly tart flavor complements the cheese.
- Dark chocolate: A small piece can balance the cheese’s tanginess with its bitter-sweet notes.
Beverage that goes well with Bouton de Culotte:
- Wine: A Sauvignon grape wine such as Sancerre can enhance the flavors of Bouton de Culotte. Additionally, a glass of white wine from Burgundy is also recommended.
- Cocktails: Interestingly, you can also pair this cheese with a Margarita cocktail, a Bee’s Knees cocktail, and a Last Word cocktail.
- Craft beers: A light, fruity craft beer could complement the tangy flavor of the cheese.
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