Le Moulis Cheese

10683 Le Moulis Cheese

Any cheese that sounds like that must be a cow cheese. The Pyrénées are better known for their sheep cheeses. However there are a few cows hanging around, as well as goats. No wonder; the terroir is exceptional for dairying. Most of the cheeses of this part of southwest France are rather basic and rustic, with little added adornments. They are predominantly pressed and uncooked cheeses with natural rinds.

What is natural with regard to a rind? This means that it has no added bacteria, molds or yeasts, beyond what may crop up while the cheese is aging. These ancient types of cheeses may be “basic” or “primordial, but that does not mean that they are bland, certainly not Le Moulis made with cow milk. There is a sheep version and a goat version of Le Moulis but the cow version is their best-known.

The first time I tasted this cheese I probably thought that it looked a little rough. The “natural” rind can pick up various hungry microbes. That may sound a little daunting to some of you but it is an indication that the cheese is a “living” food. The flavor of Le Moulis is earthy; not that I have intentionally tasted earth. If it tastes anything like what it smells like then this must be it. The cheese starts off rather mild and buttery but it opens up in the mouth to reveal layers and layers of flavor. Pungent might be one word that applies, a little leathery, animal and fertile.

If you have ever been around cows this is what Le Moulis smells/tastes like. In my quest to find great matches for the world’s best cheeses I was pleased to find that the cow Le Moulis paired very well with one of my favorite reds – Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfortunately that grape can be a tough one to match with a cheese. Later, when I thought about its success with Cabs I was a little surprised (at first) that it could pair so well with a Chardonnay. Because it is a fairly “demanding” cheese it will suffer no wallflowers.

The cheese makes frequent appearances on Max’s Healthy Plate and in our Cheese & Wine 201 sessions.

Spread the curd!
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