Altered Tastes: Epoisses

I am sorry for folks who are new to the blog, expecting me to be all sous-vide this and sous-vide that.  I promise I will get back to you with your regularly scheduled broadcasting.  But in the interim, I need to continue to write about the trip to France.  Paris was amazing, and there were many delicious meals.  Summing them up quickly: Bistro Paul Bert, Comptoir Du Relais, Chateaubriand, L'Atalier du Joel Robuchon, and the wedding I was fortunate enough to be able to attend.  I am pretty sure those five meals accounted for about 30 individual plates of food, if not more.  All of them awesome, special and deserving more detail than you are going to get.

Day 1 Route

After the aforementioned wedding, we rented a car with the plan of driving around France looking for adventure and cheese and wine.  We left Paris and headed for the number one place I wanted to go to.  Epoisses.  The actual town where the cheese is made.

The first time I had this amazing cheese was at Artisanal, a cheese-centric bistro helmed by Terrance Brennan.  The stank of a thousand cheeses kick your teeth in the second you arrive. The first time I ate there, someone at the table ordered this cheese. As it made its way around the table, a pattern started to emerge.  Take a bite, eyes roll back in head, moaning.  By the time it made its way to me, it was being called 'The Orgasm Cheese'.  One bite later, and I pretty much had made a new friend-with-benefits for life.

And now I get to meet her parents...

If you want to know how serious this country is about cheese, I shall simultaneously present to you Exhibit A, and my closing arguments, in the form of a single picture:

The above picture was taken at a GAS STATION off of a highway. A GAS STATION.  Have I mentioned that you can PURCHASE GAS AND EPOISSES at the SAME FUCKING PLACE.  I wish I had taken a second picture so you could see that this place looked exactly like a GAS STATION.  There were refrigerated units with the usual array of softdrinks, pre-packaged sandwiches, maps, potato chips and, oh yeah, intricate, complex and downright funky cheeses that if you opened up in the confines of a car would surely kill you.

I digested that experience for about 45 minutes, before we finally arrived in Epoisses.
Epoisses.  Population: Om Nom Nom

Turns out, Epoisses isa sleepy little hallow.  And not so much sleepy as it was completely.  closed.  I mean it.  Only signs of life were these fine ladies:

Cows in Epoisses.  Let's Pretend Their Milk Makes Epoisses.
So, onward we marched... arriving in Dijon.  Dijon is larger than Epoisses, but still pretty dead.  Still having some fight left in us, we took the Burgundy Wine Road down to Beaune. On the way to the wine road, we drove by the Gaugry Fromagerie, one of larger Epoisses manufacturers.  Also closed.

Paradise Closed.
We finally stopped in Beaune.  After getting settled in the Hotel, we went into town to grab dinner, and, during the Dessert course, I finally found my precious Epoisses.  It was, of course, amazing.  It was hands down the best piece of Epoisses I have ever had.  The texture simultaneously gooey and firm, best described as uni-like in texture, combined with the incredible complexities of this pomice-brandy washed-rind cheese.  My memories of eating this cheese mostly converge on a moment where I believe I was wielding my knife like a broken beer bottle, menacing waitstaff and my girlfriend alike if they made any sudden movements towards the cheese.

The best piece of Epoisses I have ever eaten.

Even though Fromagerie Gaugry was closed, the next day we backtracked up here (~40 minutes) in an attempt to get to the source.  Of course, it was. still. closed.  But this time just for the standard French lunch hours. yeah, hours.  Fuck those guys.  Finally, it opened and we did a little tour of the factory.  Moneyshot:

Paradise Found.


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