Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Gaperon Cheese

Gaperon cheese is made in the Auvergne (central) region of France from cow's milk and flavored with garlic and cracked peppercorns. It is shaped somewhat like a dome, or a flat-bottomed baseball, and the outside rind is a fuzzy, moldy white. 
Picture from here
The inside is a creamy white with oddly shaped holes and a smattering of peppercorns. It has a creamy consistency and a very, very strong pepper flavor. 
We purchased ours from a cheese store in Beverly Hills.
As I eat it I think of old wood in a barrel. Kind of musty and earthy. It was originally made from buttermilk, left over from making butter, then mixed with added milk to make curds. The Auvergnat dialect word for buttermilk (gape) is where the name comes from. Today, commercial cheese-makers make it from partially skimmed milk instead. The curds are mixed with pink garlic, a crop in that region, and pepper. The garlic is supposed to be quite pronounced, but I only taste the strong pepper. However, the smell is very strong and I think the garlic adds greatly in that regard. I found that the taste really grew on me a lot.  Steven Jenkins Cheese Primer has quite an extensive section on Gaperon and recipe suggestions and how best to eat it. 

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