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Reblochon cheese is a soft French cheese known for its rich flavor and flowery scent. The cheese was once produced in certain parts of Italy, but as Italian production declined in the late 1960s, the manufacturing of the cheese returned exclusively to France. Produced primarily in the Alps of Haute-Savoie, the cheese itself bears a strong nutty flavor.
Originating from the word reblocher, which translates to "pinch a cow's udders again," Reblochon cheese got its name from the fact that farmers once used the milk produced by their cows to pay their taxes, a common practice in 16th-century France. After the tax collector would leave, the farmers would return to their dairy cows and pull the last remnants of the milk to produce their cheeses. This second milking would produce a much heavier and fattier milk, ideal for making cheese and butter.
Rebochon cheese is always made from raw milk. Since the post-tax milk was often gathered from several different dairy cows, the cheese itself was made with a blend of the milks available. Abondance, tarine, and montbéliarde were the most common breeds of cows found in the Haute-Savoie region and, therefore, are the three varieties of milk used in modern production. The standards and regulations that exist in countries such as the US forbid the use of non-pasteurized dairy products, making reblochon only available through import in many areas of the world.
A fairly soft cheese, Reblochon cheese is encased in a thick rind to help it hold its form. It is commonly consumed as a stand-alone item, often served with various fruits to complement its rich flavor and fruity undertones. Reblochon cheese is most often paired with either a dry white wine or a fruity red wine. It is also a common ingredient in many popular recipes in French cuisine, including tartiflette, a potato dish containing onions, heavy cream and ham. Tarts and quiches are other dishes in the regions that often make use of the mild flavor of reblochon.
In technical terms, reblochon cheese is produced in rounds measuring 15.5 inches (14 cm) across with thicknesses of up to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm). The weight of the rounds is typically in the range of 15 to 16 ounces (425 to 450 grams). The rind is orange in color and covered in a thin layer of white mold. Aged up to eight weeks, the cheese is best eaten between March and December.
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