France – Dauphine & Provence
Goats’ milk, unpasteurised; soft and rindless, wrapped in chestnut leaves that have been dipped in white wine, eau-de-vie or marc and tied with ribbon or raffia. Also available from Cows milk and pasteurised, without leaves and sprinkled with herb or spices.
The history of Banon cheese extends far back into medieval times. Early references to Banon cheese occur as early as 1270 CE. It was then, and still continues to be just one of the many soft cheeses typically made by farmers, that are popular and distinctly French.
Banon cheese is a delightful soft French cheese that derives its name from the town in which it is made, Banon, in Provence. The cheese normally matures young and has a wood/fruit flavor that it takes from the chestnut leaves in which the cheese is wrapped. The typical Banon cheese is made from goats’ milk, though occasionally cow milk is added. The milk is not, in most cases pasteurized. Most types of Banon cheese are hand molded, and are left to sit for 5 days prior to being wrapped in the leaves from chestnut trees. The wrapped cheese is considered mature after two weeks, and can then be sold. Since it is a fresh cheese, its taste does not improve much with age. In fact, Banon cheese should be consumed soon after it is fully ripe and mature
With young cheeses – whites. rosés and reds from the Côtes de Provence.
Banon is an amazing cheese. Look for a green leaf covering if you prefer young, tart cheeses. The older (dry and brown) the wrapper, the stronger the cheese.