Did you know that France has more than 1,000 different types of cheeses? We all have our favorites, and one man’s “stinky” is another’s “j’adore”. So what are the 5 stinkiest French cheeses you can encounter in any good fromagerie -cheese shop?
Taste: Tangy & Salty
This blue-veined stinky cheese is produced out of raw sheep’s milk and matured in caves around the small village of Roquefort, Southern France. White and salty, its creamy yet slightly grainy texture is deeply satisfying! Also known in France as the King of cheeses, any good cheese platter needs to contain Roquefort.
Origin: Nord Pas de Calais
Taste: Mild & Nutty
Actually, its nickname is Vieux Puant aka old stinky, so you get a clear idea of its repulsive odor! Made in Northern France, it derives its name from the village of Maroilles in the region in which it is still manufactured. Easily recognizable by its shape, color and sent: the Maroilles are individual rectangular blocks with a moist orange-red washed rind and a strong smell
Taste: Creamy & Spicy
One of the oldest and greatest Normandy cheeses, Livarot is a monastic French cheese easily distinguished by its washed rind and pungent aroma. This full-flavored cheese is repeatedly dipped in a brine solution during ageing, resulting on a brown-orange rind and bold tang reminiscent of hay and eau de Barnyard.
Taste: Sharp & Nutty
One of Napoleon’s favorites, Epoisses is definitely one of the smelliest cheeses you can find. Since the 16th century, Epoisses is made from raw cow’s milk. Its orange rind is washed with a mixture of water and local pomace brandy (Mars de Bourgogne). Easily distinguished by a circular wooden box when sold in cheese shops, it is sometimes served with a spoon due to its extremely soft texture.
Taste: Rich & Salty
One of Frances’ oldest monastery cheeses, Munster is also one Alsace’s boldest! This French cheese is often called “Monster Cheese” due to its unbearable odor. This soft and creamy cheese is made from milk produced by cows living in the regions between Alsace, Lorraine and Franche-Comté in France. Other than protecting the cheese, the rind is also responsible for a strong, penetrating aroma and tangy taste. Definitely not for the timid, there is also a pungent version covered in cumin seeds.
She is the co-founder of Bon Appétit Box. She was born & raised in Montpellier in the South of France and then spent 5 years exploring the culinary offerings of Paris. In her free time, she loves to walk on the beach watching the sea scenery in every season. When she comes back to France, her favorite thing is to sit outside with friends and enjoy some cheese (she’s a fan of Roquefort!) with a glass of red wine of course!
Picture by La Boite du Fromager