These Booze-Washed Cheeses Will Change Your Life

Editor
Washed-rind cheeses are things of beauty

Playing with Fire and Water

No, that's not melted cheese; That's Époisses.

In the world of cheese, there are a handful of distinct varieties: fresh cheeses, like Boursin; aged cheeses, like Parmigiano-Reggiano; bloomy-rind cheeses like Brie; and finally, the washed-rind cheeses. These complex beauties are usually stinky, creamy, luscious, a little bit funky… in other words, all the things we look for in cheese.

Washed-rind cheeses come in many varieties; some are creamy and others are quite hard, some are sold whole in round wooden containers and others come in blocks. Some washed-rind cheeses are rubbed with a simple brine, but others are actually bathed in booze. Here are five booze-washed cheeses that you should definitely, definitely seek out.

Époisses
This legendary (and legendarily stinky) cheese is washed in a brine that’s been infused with a local brandy, Marc de Bourgogne. Sold in a little wooden box, it should be left out for a couple hours before eating in order for it to come to room temperature. It’s so luscious that it can (and should) be eaten with a spoon.

Chimay
You may know Chimay only as a producer of beer, but they actually sell a variety of cheeses that have been washed with that beer, too, and they’re good. That’s right: they went there.

Stinking Bishop
This creamy, light orange cheese is washed in a pear brandy. The name of the variety of pear that the brandy is made with? Stinking bishop.

Capriole Dairy’s O’Banon
To make this cheese, fresh goat cheese is wrapped in chestnut leaves and washed — nay, soaked — in bourbon. The bourbon gives it a rich, woody flavor that doesn’t at all overpower the goat cheese.

Vulto Creamery’s Miranda
Believe it or not, this cow’s milk cheese is washed in Absinthe. The green fairy imparts a bright, herbal finish, and the flavor is rich and complex. 

Related Links
Hooked on Cheese: L’Etivaz: Cheese of the AlpsHooked on Cheese: Capriole Dairy's O'BanonHooked on Cheese: Interview with Sweet Grass' Jessica LittleHooked on Cheese: An Interview with Artisanal's Max McCalmanHooked on Cheese: Mexican Queso