All things cheese in France

Friday, 26 April 2013

Heavenly Époisses !

Mousse tiède d’époisses au pain d’épices et sa tartine 
Is it possible to improve on something that is already perfect? As most cheeseheads know, Époisses as a cheese is, well perfect. And in my humble opinion, it is the best, the one, the king of cheese. Onctuous, flavourful, full of umami and yes smelly. This weekend we were in Bourgogne (Burgundy) to research this area of beautiful scenery, fabulous wine, amazing food and yes cheese! Some of France's most beautiful châteux, the best wines and starred restaurants can be found in this region, just a couple hours south of Paris. Also Burgundian cheeses (in French) are some of the best French cheeses...Époisses, l'Ami du Chambertin, Brillat-savarin, Chaource, Charolais, Clacbitou, Langres, Soumaintrain and many many more.  

One of the things one does when one goes to research a place is sample all of the wonderful products that come forth from its amazingly rich terroir and Bourgogne does not disappoint. So after doing some damage to the pocketbook at Le Château Pommard, off we went to lunch in this tiny little village at what would turn out to be the best find of the trip, the restaurant Auprès du Clocher, where chef Jean-Christophe Moutet practices his magic. And ô! what magical things come out of that kitchen.  

The entrée was l'Oeuf à la neige en meurette d'escargots de Bourgogne (a poached egg in an egg white soufflé sitting in a pool of a red wine and shallot reduction and Burgundian escargots), followed by the main - Joue de boeuf confite au vin rouge en Parmentier (a red wine confit of beef cheek under a cloud of potatoe purée) and the finale was a thing of intense beauty: Mousse tiède d'époisses au pain d’épices et sa tartine (a warm mousse of époisses with a gingerbread base accomanied by its very own slab of perfect époisses on toast)!

Each one of these dishes was more intense than the one before it, and yet for a cheesehead, the dessert was kind of like heavan on earth. The mousse was a warm, feather light cream, like a sabayon, of époisses with crunchy pieces of toasted pain d'épices at the bottom, in to which you dunked a toasted slice of pain de campagne topped with slabs of absolutely perfect é I said more perfect than perfect. Époisses is pretty big as a cheese but somehow each bit of this combination was an A Ha! moment. All the beautiful, round flavours of this meaty cheese were on display, smoothed by the cream and punctuated by the sweet, toasted gingerbread. Félicitation au chef! c'était un merveille!

If you are ever in the region, make sure you head straight to Pommard to visit this most charming chef.
By then, he will certainly have stars attached to his name !

Auprès du Clocher


Auprès du Clocher
1 rue de Nackenheim


Tél: +33 (0)3 80 22 21 79 

l'Oeuf à la neige en meurette
Joue de boeuf confite en Parmentier