Melted Époisses & Rosemary Bread
With autumn in mind and the arrival of the fire pit at La Petite Bouchée we’re looking at how we can make more cosy and comforting during those cold and dark evenings. We found last year that our Alpine Nights were especially popular and that the local population had a thing about anything cheesy. Tartiflette, Vacherin fondu and one of our many gratins and so we thought we’d introduce this unctuous delight to the menu.
Our Melted Époisses & Rosemary Bread, fabulous with soup and stew and deliciously comforting. Époisses is one of my favourite cheeses, perfect for dipping and spreading and centuries old with a wonderful pedigree it appears I have something in common with Napoleon as it was allegedly his favourite cheese.
Époisses is a cheese made in the village bearing the same name in the department of Côte-d’Or and located between Dijon and Auxerre. Époisses is part of the stinky brigade, made with raw cows-milk and washed in pomace brandy, local to the area or Bourgogne. Once ripened it has a reddish-orange colour and is sold like many soft French cheeses in a box. Époisses is normally served with a spoon in eateries because it is so soft and creamy and it is often paired with dessert wine or a good beer. It was Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin famous epicure and gastronome who declared Époisses the ‘ King of all cheeses”
At the start of the sixteenth century, the village was home to a Cistercian community at L’Abbaye de Citeaux began producing Époisses. Two hundred years later, when the Cistercians left, they left local farmers the recipe, which developed over the next century. Although popular at the start of the 20th century, with over 300 farms manufacturing the cheese, production had all but died out by the end of the Second World War. This resulted from the loss of a significant portion of the male population, leaving the women to work the fields, which in turn led to the neglect of the local dairy businesses and cheese-making.
In 1956, a pair of small farmers, Robert and Simone Berthaut, decided to re-launch the production of Époisses by mobilizing the traditional skills of those who still knew how to make the cheese. Berthaut Époisses increasingly gained favour among its devotees and became a spectacular success. The business is now carried on by their son, Jean Berthaut. Fromagerie Berthaut is currently responsible for the manufacture of all fermier Époisses.
- 1 Pain de Campagne
- 1 Époisses
- 55g crème fraîche
- A couple of sprigs of rosemary
- Splash of olive oil
- A pinch of sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
- Preheat oven to 200c/gas mark 6.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the Époisses (remove from the rind) with the crème fraîche and reserve.
- In a pan add a tiny splash of olive oil and add the rosemary for a minute to release the oils.
- Slice into the bread partially and spread the Époisses mixture over the bread and put the rest of the cheese mixture into the base of a baking dish.
- Place the bread in the baking dish and sprinkle with rosemary and salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes until browned and crisply.
- Serve with charcuterie or cruditée