Immerse yourself in the gastronomic splendor of France as we journey to the northeastern region of Champagne-Ardenne. Here, we encounter a culinary gem that has been savored for centuries – Langres. A cheese as rich in history as it is in flavor, Langres is a testament to the artisanal prowess of the region’s cheesemakers.
With its distinctive cylindrical shape and sun-kissed orange rind, this cheese is more than just a treat for your taste buds – it’s a sensory experience that encapsulates the spirit of Champagne-Ardenne.
Quick Facts About Langres
|Origin||Champagne-Ardenne region, France|
|Milk Source||Cow’s milk|
|Texture||Creamy, dense and supple|
|Color||Orangey-red rind with a white interior|
|Flavor Profile||Mildly tangy with rich, creamy notes|
|Aging Time||Minimum of 15 days|
|Special Feature||Traditionally served with a hole in the center to hold Champagne or Marc de Bourgogne|
|Pairings||Champagne, fruity red wines, crusty bread, fruits|
|Protected Designation||Awarded CDO (Certified Designation of Origin) in 1991, and PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) in 2012|
What is Langres?
Langres is a fascinating gem from the world of French cheeses. Hailing from the Champagne-Ardenne region, Langres is a soft, washed-rind cheese that boasts a unique gastronomic identity. Made from cow’s milk, this cheese has a distinctive cylindrical shape with a slight depression at the top, known as the ‘fontaine’, or fountain.
The magic of Langres lies in its rich texture and complex flavor profile. Beneath its characteristic orangey-red rind, you will find a white, creamy interior that is dense yet supple. The taste of Langres is a delightful experience – it starts off mildly tangy, gradually revealing rich, creamy notes as it melts in your mouth.
But there’s more to Langres than meets the eye. This cheese is traditionally served with a small amount of Champagne or Marc de Bourgogne poured into the ‘fontaine’, thereby adding an extra layer of flavor. The combination of the cheese with these spirits makes for a truly indulgent treat.
Aging for a minimum of 15 days, Langres is a testament to the time-honored traditions of French cheesemaking. It holds a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, awarded by the European Union, which underscores its authenticity and regional importance.
What Does Langres Taste Like?
Langres cheese offers a unique and intriguing taste experience. The cheese is known for its rich and creamy texture, which becomes more pronounced as the cheese matures. It begins with a mild, slightly tangy flavor that intensifies over time, taking on more pungent and complex notes.
The rind of Langres, which develops due to the washing process during maturation, contributes an additional layer of earthy, slightly salty flavors. The interior of the cheese is dense yet supple, and it melts delightfully in the mouth, releasing a burst of creamy richness.
Langres Tasting Notes
- Appearance: Langres has a distinctive cylindrical shape with a slight depression at the top known as the ‘fontaine’. The cheese is covered by a wrinkly, orangey-red rind which contrasts beautifully with the creamy white interior.
- Texture: The texture of Langres is creamy, dense, and supple. As the cheese matures, it becomes increasingly creamy, especially under the rind. This cheese is known for its delightful melt-in-the-mouth texture.
- Aroma: Langres has a strong, pungent aroma, particularly as it matures. The washed rind imparts an earthy, slightly musty scent that is characteristic of this type of cheese.
- Flavor: The flavor profile of Langres is complex and evolves as the cheese matures. It starts off mild and slightly tangy, gradually developing deeper, savory notes. The taste can be described as rich and lactic, with hints of sourness and a slight saltiness.
- Pairings: Langres pairs wonderfully with Champagne or Marc de Bourgogne, which can be poured into the ‘fontaine’ to enhance the flavor of the cheese. The cheese also goes well with fruity red wines, crusty bread, and fresh fruits.
- Mouthfeel: The creamy, dense texture of Langres gives it a luxurious mouthfeel. The cheese coats the palate, allowing the complex flavors to linger and evolve.
What is Langres Cheese Made From?
|Milk||Langres cheese is made from cow’s milk. It can be made with either raw or pasteurized full-fat cow’s milk.|
|Rennet||Rennet, an enzyme found in the stomach of ruminant animals, is used in the cheesemaking process to coagulate the milk, turning it from a liquid into a solid curd.|
|Salt||Salt is added to the cheese for flavor, and also plays an important role in the aging process. It helps to draw out moisture, firming up the texture of the cheese, and also aids in the development of the rind.|
|Starter cultures||These are specific types of bacteria added to the milk to kickstart the fermentation process. The bacteria convert lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid, which gives the cheese its distinctive tangy flavor.|
|Annatto||Annatto, a natural orange-red dye derived from the seeds of the achiote tree, is used to give Langres its characteristic orange rind. During the aging process, the cheese is washed with brine and rubbed with annatto.|
How to Eat Langres Cheese?
Langres cheese offers a unique and indulgent taste experience that can be enjoyed in a number of ways:
- Champagne Pairing: One of the most traditional and enjoyable ways to consume Langres cheese is by pairing it with Champagne. You can pour a small amount of Champagne into the ‘fontaine’ or depression at the top of the cheese before eating, which enhances the cheese’s natural tanginess with the fruity, aromatic notes of the spirits.
- Cheese Board: Langres cheese is a wonderful addition to any cheeseboard. This allows diners to enjoy its rich, creamy flavor alongside a variety of other cheeses, fruits, and crackers.
- Bread Pairing: Another popular way to enjoy Langres cheese is spread over crusty bread or baguette. The creamy texture of the cheese contrasts beautifully with the crisp, chewy bread.
- Accompaniments: Langres cheese pairs well with a variety of accompaniments. Try it with thin slices of cornichon (a type of pickled cucumber) and a small dollop of grape jelly, or with walnuts, pears, and rosemary.
- Meal Addition: Langres cheese can also be incorporated into starters, main courses, or snacks. It could be melted over vegetables or meats, or used in a gourmet sandwich.
Is Langres a Healthy Cheese?
Yes, Langres is a healthy cheese when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet:
- Nutritional Content: Langres cheese is relatively low in calories with only 80 calories per serving. It contains no carbohydrates, making it suitable for those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet.
- Protein: Langres cheese provides a good source of protein, with 5g per serving. Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair and also helps to keep you feeling full.
- Fat: While Langres cheese does contain 7g of fat per serving, it’s important to note that not all fats are bad. Cheese is a source of saturated fats, which can help to increase levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol when eaten in moderation.
- Calcium: Like most cheeses, Langres is a source of calcium, which is important for bone health.
However, Langres is also high in sodium and saturated fat, which should be limited in a healthy diet.
10 Best Langres Substitutes
|Cheese||Reason for being a good substitute|
|St. Albray||This French cheese is milder than some washed-rind cheeses but still retains some of that distinctive aroma. It could be a good substitute for those who find Langres too strong.|
|Neufchâtel||Neufchâtel is a semi-soft cheese with a similar texture to Langres, making it a good alternative in terms of mouthfeel.|
|Saint Agur||Saint Agur is a creamy blue cheese. Although the flavor profile is different, its creaminess can mimic the texture of Langres.|
|Tomme de Savoie||Tomme de Savoie is a semi-soft cheese with a nutty flavor. It can provide a similar texture to Langres, though the taste may be milder.|
|Morbier||Morbier is a semi-soft cheese with a rich and creamy texture that can resemble the mouthfeel of Langres.|
|Brin d’Amour||This semi-soft cheese has a unique flavor due to the herbs it’s coated with. It could offer an interesting alternative to Langres.|
|Oxford Blue||Oxford Blue is a rich and creamy cheese that can replicate the texture of Langres. Its blue mold adds a unique flavor twist.|
|Raejuusto||Raejuusto, or Finnish squeaky cheese, is quite different in flavor and texture from Langres, but it could offer an interesting alternative for those seeking something different.|
|Milleens||Milleens is a semi-soft washed-rind cheese with a creamy texture, similar to Langres.|
|Vacherin Fribourgeois||Vacherin Fribourgeois is another semi-soft cheese with a rich and creamy texture. It’s a good alternative for those who enjoy the creaminess of Langres.|
What Pairs Well With Langres?
Food that goes well with Langres:
|Bread||Crusty French bread, sourdough, rye bread, baguettes|
|Fruits||Apples, pears, grapes, figs, dried apricots|
|Nuts||Walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts|
|Meats||Salami, prosciutto, smoked salmon|
|Vegetables||Pickled cucumbers (cornichons), olives, sun-dried tomatoes|
|Jams and Preserves||Grape jelly, fig jam, quince paste|
|Sweets||Dark chocolate, honeycomb|
|Others||Gourmet crackers, rosemary sprigs for garnish.|
Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?
Beverage that goes well with Langres:
|Wine||Champagne, Chablis, Burgundy, Pinot Noir|
|Beer||Belgian ales, Trappist beers, wheat beers|
|Spirits||Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac|
|Non-Alcoholic||Sparkling water, apple cider, grape juice|
What Champagne Goes Well With Langres?
The saying “what grows together, goes together” rings true as Langres is made in the Champagne region of France. A popular choice for pairing is Blanc de Noirs Champagne, which is made primarily using Pinot Noir grapes. This style of Champagne complements the creamy richness of Langres cheese perfectly.
For a unique serving suggestion, we recommend pouring a small amount of Champagne into the ‘fountain’ or the sunken top of the Langres cheese and letting it soak through to further enhance the flavors.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to pronounce Langres?
Langres is pronounced as “Lahn-gruh”. The “s” at the end is silent, as is common in French words.
2. What is the meaning of Langres?
Langres is a name that originates from a town and commune in northeastern France. It’s also the name of a type of cheese that comes from this region. The word “Langres” itself doesn’t have a specific meaning in French, it’s simply a place name. The town of Langres is known for its historical and cultural significance, including its fortified city walls and as the birthplace of the famed French Enlightenment writer and philosopher, Denis Diderot.
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