For October, Ruth Holbrook, trade development manager for Paxton & Whitfield's flagship Jermyn Street shop, has selected the French, washed rind cheese Reblochon PDO* to enjoy (unpasteurised cows' milk, traditional rennet).
Reblochon is a nutty flavoured cheese with an unctuous, smooth texture and an attractive rind. It is a lightly pressed cheese and shaped like a flat disc.
It became a PDO cheese in 1958 and as such is limited in its region of production. It can only be made in the mountains of Savoy, specifically, the Haute-Savoie in the Val d'Arly near to Col des aravis. The milk used to make it comes from cattle that leave their barns in May to graze on land at the foot of the mountains, climbing to higher pastures from June to October.
Reblochon is a traditional cheese with origins thought to date back to the 13th century, although the cheese became better known at the end of the 18th century. The name of the cheese came about from a fraudulent process adopted by farmers when landowners, monks and nobles possessed the right to take a portion of the milk produced on their land. When the land owners checked up on the farmers for this remuneration, the farmers would produce less milk on that day in order to pay less. Once the landowner had gone, the farmers would produce a second batch of milk that was not necessarily large in quantity, but rich, creamy and ideal for making cheese. The cheese therefore takes its name from this fraud, called locally as 'Rebloche' because the patois 'Re-blocher' means to 'pinch the udders of the cow a second time'.
Paxton's Reblochon is supplied by esteemed affineur Joseph Paccard who is based 1,000m up in the Aravis Valley of Haute Savoie. The experts at Paccard take cheeses from around 30 small producers in the surrounding area and mature them on pinewood shelves in underground caves.
Ruth says: "Reblochon is delicious paired with our Cote de Duras White. The creaminess of the Reblochon is complemented by the crisp, fruitiness of the wine".
*PDO - Protected Designation of Origin, for products that are produced, processed and prepared within a particular geographical area, and with features and characteristics that must be due to that area.