Epoisses Cheese: A Stinky Delight with a Rich History and Flavor Profile

Are you a cheese connoisseur looking to explore unique and flavorful options? Look no further than Epoisses cheese! This stinky delight has a rich history dating back to the 16th century in the Burgundy region of France. Known for its pungent aroma and creamy texture, Epoisses cheese offers a bold and unforgettable flavor profile that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. In this article, we will delve into the origins, production process, and culinary uses of this beloved cheese.

History of Epoisses Cheese

Origins in Burgundy, France

Epoisses cheese has a rich history dating back to the 16th century in the Burgundy region of France. It was originally created by Cistercian monks in the town of Epoisses, using a traditional recipe that has been passed down through generations. The monks used raw cow’s milk and washed the cheese in a brine solution, giving it its distinct pungent aroma and creamy texture.

Popularity and Decline

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Epoisses cheese gained popularity among the French nobility and was even referred to as the “King of Cheeses” by the famous gastronome Brillat-Savarin. However, its production declined in the late 19th century due to various factors, including changes in agricultural practices and competition from other cheese varieties.

Revival in the 20th Century

Epoisses cheese experienced a revival in the 20th century, thanks to the efforts of a few dedicated cheese producers who sought to preserve this traditional French delicacy. Today, Epoisses cheese is once again highly regarded for its unique flavor profile and is enjoyed by cheese connoisseurs around the world. Its resurgence serves as a testament to the time-honored traditions and craftsmanship that have been preserved in the Burgundy region.

Production Process

Milk Sourcing and Quality

Epoisses cheese is made from cow’s milk that is sourced from local dairy farms in the Burgundy region of France. The milk used in the production of Epoisses is of the highest quality, as it plays a crucial role in the flavor and texture of the final product.

Curd Formation and Maturation

Once the milk is sourced, it is heated and mixed with rennet to form curds. The curds are then cut and stirred to release whey, before being molded into the characteristic round shape of Epoisses cheese. The cheese is then left to mature for several weeks, during which time it develops its pungent aroma and rich flavor.

Washing and Aging

During the aging process, Epoisses cheese is regularly washed with a mixture of brine and marc de Bourgogne, a local pomace brandy. This washing process helps to develop the orange rind and creamy interior of the cheese, as well as enhance its complex flavor profile. Epoisses cheese is aged for a minimum of six weeks, but some varieties are aged for several months to develop an even stronger taste.

Flavor Profile of Epoisses Cheese

Epoisses cheese is known for its bold and complex flavor profile that is loved by cheese enthusiasts all over the world. Here is a breakdown of its flavor characteristics:

Aroma and Appearance

Epoisses cheese is famous for its pungent aroma that can be described as earthy, barnyard-like, and even slightly meaty. The rind of the cheese is washed with Marc de Bourgogne, a local brandy, which contributes to its distinctive smell. Visually, Epoisses cheese has a reddish-orange rind that is slightly wrinkled and a pale yellow interior that becomes creamier as it ages.

Texture and Mouthfeel

In terms of texture, Epoisses cheese is soft and creamy with a gooey, almost runny consistency at room temperature. The cheese has a velvety smoothness that coats the palate, making it a decadent treat to savor. When properly aged, Epoisses cheese should have a delicate balance between firmness and creaminess.

Taste Notes and Pairings

Epoisses cheese has a rich and savory flavor profile with notes of mushrooms, garlic, and a hint of sweetness. The cheese has a pronounced umami quality that makes it a standout among other washed-rind cheeses. Epoisses pairs well with sweet accompaniments like honey or fig jam, as well as crusty bread, crackers, or a glass of full-bodied red wine. Its bold flavors also make it a great addition to cheese boards or as a standout ingredient in dishes like tarts or risottos.


In conclusion, Epoisses cheese is a truly unique and flavorful cheese with a rich history that dates back centuries. Its pungent aroma and creamy texture make it a standout among the many varieties of cheese available. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with a glass of wine, Epoisses cheese is sure to delight even the most discerning cheese connoisseur. Its complex flavor profile and velvety finish make it a must-try for anyone looking to expand their cheese palate. So next time you’re in the mood for a truly special cheese experience, be sure to seek out a wheel of Epoisses and savor every bite.