It’s nearly the New Year – of course, we’re planning on popping corks on a few bottles of champagne and digging into cheese plates designed by our talented expert cheesemongers. But we’re not the first people to think that cheese and champagne are perfect for each other. In fact, the creator’s of one of the Champagne regions of France designed a cheese especially to pair with their eponymous drink – Langres!
This little guy dates back to 18th century, to the little town of Haute Marne. The area has always been quite famous for its bubbly, so it’s not surprising that this cheese was often looked over for the sparkling drink. But when 1991 rolled around, the French government knew it was time to give it the recognition it deserved – admitting it to the AOC family, this regional cheese got star-status.
Similar to our funky friend, Epoisses, the rind can be sticky and shiny, or wrinkled and white. But beneath it all, the burnished orange rind gives you an idea of just what kind of cheese this is – a little bit funky, but delightfully creamy. When you slice past that intriguing little rind, Langres is a touch on the firmer side, but it melts over the tongue with little pretense.
But that’s just how Langres can be enjoyed on its own. This little button of cheese’s claim to fame is the divot at its top. Shaped like a cup, you might have some idea of how Langres and Champagne are enjoyed together…. That’s right! Langres is traditionally enjoyed by pouring your celebratory champagne right over the tiny wheel. The top dip of the cheese is called in French the “fontaine”, which is a reference to a fountain or natural spring.
Here’s how you make your French fountain: simply cut a small slit in the middle of the wheel to allow the bubbles to transform its demure fudginess into a brioche-laden creambomb. And then pour your favorite sparkler – the classic is a touch of the Marc de Champagne – right over top. A tradition that has been lost over time, we think it’s the perfect way to start your New Year – and by that, we mean eating delicious cheese and impressing your friends and family.