We took a chocolate tour in Beverly Hills recently and stumbled on a great cheese shop known as The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. We bought a number of cheeses we'd not tried before and Puits d'Astier was one of them. It is a sheep milk cheese, aged two to three months, from Astier, in the Auvergne region of southern France and marketed by Fresca Italia Inc. One of its distinctive points is that it comes in a 16 pounds wheel with a hole in the middle, like a donut, and the wheel is aged in caves on straw instead of wood. "Puits" is French for "well" or "hole," probably named for its distinctive shape.
|Picture from the Fresca Italia website.|
The cheese has a natural rind with a yellow mold. The cheese itself has a smooth texture and is very creamy, almost like a brie. It has a slightly bitter taste with a tinge of lemon. The rind is more bitter and tastes a little like walnut shells. It is interesting to see what other reviewers think of it. One describes it as "barnyardy," which I did not find; another reviewer is reminded of onions, butter and almonds; one says "oniony, vegetal, rustic, pungent and musty." The Fresca Italia website describes it as "nutty." We liked it quite a bit.