To celebrate Bastille Day on 14th July, Chris Parkman, Paxton & Whitfield’s Jermyn Street Retail Manager, has selected the washed rind, French cheese Petit Livarot (Thermised cows’ milk, traditional rennet) to enjoy.
This is thought to be one of Normandy’s oldest cheeses, supposedly established in the 12th Century by local monks who then passed on the technique of making the cheese to local farmers. It is named after the town of Livarot, in the department of Calvados, Normandy, where it was latterly made by Benedictine monks.
Its unique flavour comes from the ripening process that takes place over three months in a series of humid curing chambers. During the process the cheese is washed in brine to encourage the growth of the bacteria that gives the cheese its lovely russet coloured rind. Livarot has a creamy, subtle texture with a spicy and intense flavour.
Petit Livarot received its PDO* status in 1975. The status dictates the treatment of the curds during production and the minimum size of each cheese. It gets its nickname, ‘the little colonel’, from the five narrow strips of rush that surround it. Five stripes are traditionally the number of stripes on a French Colonel’s sleeve.
Chris says: “I’ve paired this unique cheese with our Apricot, Date and Sunflower Seed Cracker Bakes as the fruitiness of the apricot pairs well with the cheese’s flavour.”
* PDO – Protected Designation of Origin, for products which are produced, processed and prepared within a particular geographical area, and with features and characteristics which must be due to that area.