Cheese from northern France: Maroilles cheese, unpasteurized farm cheese, soft cheese with an orangey-red washed rind. (Photo by: Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
For The Gooiest Cheeses, It's All About The Washed Rind
By Heidi Chaya
According to, monks in the north of France created washed rind cheeses specifically for their savory, meat-like flavors, and their aromas have been compared to feet, barnyards, farm animals, and ammonia. Their tastes range from mild, grassy, and herbal to sweet and salty, and some washed rind cheeses are also known to become melty puddles of deliciousness over time.
Washed rind cheeses are rubbed with brine, cultures, wine, or beer, which causes B. linens bacteria to increase on the cheese's exterior, out-competing undesired microorganisms and resulting in their signature strong odors and delicate flavors. Their creamy, oozy quality develops with age and temperature, coming from the natural molds and yeasts, which transform the cheese's fats and proteins and ripen it from the outside in.
With so many different washed rind cheeses, you may want to start with a salty Italian Taleggio, or if you're feeling fearless, consider a Stinking Bishop by Charles Martell & Son and Jasper Hill's spruce bark-wrapped Winnimere for some smelly, spectacular cheeses. Just be sure to bring the cheese to room temperature for maximum flavor and tightly seal away leftovers in the fridge.