Cheese University (XXI): Langres


Langres

Maybe I write this a little bit too often but the cheese presented today is again one of my favorites. It’s a subtle, soft, soothing yet powerful dairy product, a real character coming from beautiful Burgundy. The colour – flashy orange as you can see in the picture – is misleading in the end. It makes you think of strong tastes, of salty, beastly pleasures but this cheese is not one of those rural hammers. On the contrary, its elegance and balance are quite unparalleled, and so I proudly present to you Monsieur

Langres

Member of the AOC family since 1991, it is absolutely not, as Pierre Androuet’s otherwise trustworthy cheese dictionary puts it, a cheese with a taste somewhere “in-between Epoisses and Munster”. In fact, it reminds much more of a Neufchâtel from Normandy – but it doesn’t need any comparisons in the end. It’s a great small cow’s milk cheese of its own right, with an official website and its own proper statistics: In 2007, 435 tons of Langres were produced, making it a rare, precious product, only four cheese-makers supply the market and only one of them may still be called a farm-house producer. In fact, as the website tells us, only 50 people are engaged in Langres’ production – meaning that it is a cheese for noah’s ark which might be gone soon…

Langres is a village in the middle of nowhere, the cheese comes in sizes similar to Starbucks coffee cups (well, sort of): you can find small pieces of cylindrical shape, weighing about 180g and affinated for at least 15 days (petit format), a medium one, weighing 300g, treated for 18 days (moyen format) and a big guy of more than one kilogram per piece which ripens at least 21 days and is sold in parts.

On your platter it’ll be a cheese that makes you think of singing joyfully – and it has in fact made people sing before you. Dominican monks composed a song to its honor in the 18th century, to a cheese known only locally back then and without any commercial importance. That has changed, at least in a way. Nowadays, French cheese lovers come a long way to purchase a piece of Langres, rightfully so, and in Paris they pay prices you might call pretty salted.

A juicy white wine from Burgundy would make a perfect companion, think of Chablis or even Chassagne-Montrachet (if you only could afford it!). A Pouilly-Fuissé fits, I guess, and many others. The lighter reds from Burgundy would make equally good partners, say, a nice Savigny-lès-Beaune (yes, the accent is correct).

Check the video I’ve attached. It’s the first part (of ten or so!) of a full-blown Langres-movie to be found on youtube. I liked it a lot.

2 comments

  1. How ashamed I am! I have never tasted Langres. I have once bought it for my husband and have missed the moment he finished it… I must look for it once more.

  2. A cheesemonger at Josselin market run out of Époisses the other day and recommended Langres instead. Lovely cheese – it went directly into the top 10 of my cheese charts.

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