A French cheese making family has created a new kind of cheese after accidentally leaving some rinds in the fridge during lockdown.
The Vaxelaire family breed a herd of 25 cows in the Vosges region in eastern France, near the German border. They usually turn all of the milk that the cows produce into cheese and during the lockdown, between March 16 and May 11, as sales fell by more than 80%, they was forced to put some of the cheese in the cellar. They then promptly forgot about them.
As reported in Le Parisien, these farmers in Saulxures-sur-Moselotte usually make munster cheese. Munster cheese dates from the 7th century when monks in the region started to make the cheese as a way of storing milk at the monastery.
It is a soft cheese, particularly strong-smelling but with a subtle flavour. Traditionally, it should be made in the morning with fresh milk, which is added to skimmed milk from the day before. The milk is heated, poured into a copper cauldron and rennet is added (which comes from the stomach of calves).
The whey (remaining liquid) is taken off and the curds (the mixture) is put in a round mould to form into a cheese. It is salted and crucially, it is rubbed by hand, until a rind forms. This orange-red rind is then washed every day to provide the unique flavour.
The cheese which the Vaxelaires discovered in the cellar has a very different flavour to the usual munster cheese that they make. These new cheeses developed a greenish-grey flowery rind, according to The Local, because it wasn’t rubbed every day and it took in some of the flavour from the cellar.
Lionel Vaxelaire reported that “it lies between our Munster and a Camembert type. It’s chalky inside, with a greyish, mottled flowery rind. It took the flavour of our whole raw milk and the flora of the cellar.”
It will called le confiné because lockdown in French is translated as le confinement.
And it has proved to be so successful that they have sold out–they have since put a new munster batch in the cellar to develop.