What to pair with Epoisses (and other stinky cheeses)
What on earth do you drink with Époisses and France’s other famous stinky washed-rind cheeses such as Pont-l'Évêque, Maroilles, Munster and Langres? The problem is that the more mature and stinky you like your cheese, the tougher it will be on any wine you pair with it.
Personally I think they’re better with a spirit or beer than with wine, particularly red wine which makes sense as the rind of the cheese is often washed with white wine, beer or eau de vie.
Marc de Bourgogne
Basically the local brandy. Strong and spicy - my favourite with an Époisses that’s practically crawling off the cheeseboard
Strong Belgian or Northern French beers
Trappist beers like Orval or Chimay or what are known in Northern France as bières de grade - again because they come from the same region as the cheese
Pear eau de vie or Poire William
A pairing I discovered went really well with England’s answer to stinky cheese, Stinking Bishop
The Dutch style of gin, served neat rather than in a G & T or cocktail. The Old Tom style works too if you can’t get hold of it.
Would work with Pont-l'Évêque which comes from Normandy too. Or the slightly ligher Pommeau.
The classic local pairing for Munster in Alsace. Often the cheese is sprinkled with cumin seeds which helps the match along.
Sauternes or similar Bordeaux sweet whites
Maybe a surprise but they do work surprisingly well. Experiment with other sweet whites such as Rivesaltes.
Reluctantly because it’s what the locals drink but don’t expect it to survive unscathed and make sure there’s a baguette to offset the cheese’s pungency. Personally I’d go for a rich Burgundian white like a Meursault though even then it won’t do the wine a lot of favours. A Jura chardonnay would be more forgiving.
Photo © hawanafsu at fotolia.com
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