Not all stinky cheeses are created equal. Some are overtly funky from smell to taste. Others smell intense yet have a delicious mild flavor. Hard and crumbly or soft and runny, I love them all. That being said, not all fumigating fromages are created equal. Here is the first of what I hope to be many compare and contrast tastings.
On the platter are two intense cheeses sure to please even the most timid taster. The first is a Swiss cheese called Chue Fladae (translates to “cow patty). Raw cow’s milk and a thick pastry-like washed rind, the aroma can be off-putting at the very least and just unbearable as it gets to room temperature.
As the rind is broken, a surprisingly runny treat appears. Chue Fladae is powerfully strong at first but not offensive. Nutty, earthy and fresh, the taste actually mellows after each bite (or the tongue just resigns itself to the pungent flavor) and the texture is such I would recommend using a small spoon rather than a knife. By the end of my tasting, I was actually dipping the mini toasts right into the cheese. I really loved this cheese and am so pleased my Whole Foods cheesemonger suggested it. If you do happen to find this rare treat, be prepared to shell out the dollars. At $23.00 for 9 oz, I would save this for special occasions and true stinky cheese lovers.
Next up is the award-winning, french Epoisses Berthaut. Unlike the Chue Fladea, the washed rind on this raw cow’s milk cheese is a deep orange and sticky to the touch. The aroma is equal in intensity with a slightly sweeter scent. I was amazed to find the texture was firm even at room temperature and the flavor subtle with sweet, acidic undertones. The orange rind gives a burst of nutty tangy goodness while not being overly assertive on the tongue. Berthaut is a perfect cheese for those who want to try strong cheese but are afraid of the taste. The price is steep, running $25.00 for 9 oz. so unless you have a fantastic tax return or a mattress stuffed with dough, be sure you intend to eat this within the 28 day shelf life.
Overall, both cheeses were fantastic and I will certainly purchase them again. If I had to chose one though, I would go with the Chue Fladae only because it was the more intense tasting of the two. Check your local Whole Foods or specialty markets for these outstanding cheeses and bring in ‘da funk for yourself.