Vieux Boulogne cheese is artisan made and is shaped in a square, with sides measuring 11cm, a thickness of 4cm and a weight of up to 500g. The pate is soft and elastic, with holes from the milk fermentation. The rind is an orange/red colour and is washed regularly with beer from Saint-Léonard during the fabrication process. This cheese is pre-salted and matured for 7 to 9 months.
Nearly forgotten, the Vieux Boulogne cheese has come back to life: today it is fabricated by three artisan cheese makers, using cow’s milk from cows raised between the Blanc-Nez and Gris-Nez caps of the North of France, where the vegetation is very specific due to the sea spray breezes.
Vieux Boulogne cheese is named after its strong odour, which was scientifically judged in November 2004 by Dr Stephen White and his team of researchers of Cranfield University in Berkshire, England, as the smelliest cheese of all those tested using an ‘electronic nose’ and a tasting panel of 19 experts. According to them, the biochemical reaction of the beer on the cheese is the origin of its pungent odour.
The maturing of the Vieux Boulogne differs depending on the season, and can be between 7 to 9 weeks. When ready, the Vieux Boulogne has a salty flavour due to the sea spray breezes which blow salt onto the pastures where the cows graze. Beneath the pungent odour, the flavour is actually rather bland. Don’t hesitate to accompany this cheese with a triple beer from the North of France, or a powerful wine, such as Côteau-du-Layon to bring out the flavour of the cheese.