Epoisses in the Witness Protection Program...
Remember the thread where I posted that my new addictive cheese was
$5 less per 8.8 ounces at Wegmans than at Whole Foods? Well,
Whole Foods must have seen it.
Now they have a cheese labeled "St Soleil", sold under Whole Foods
labeling, for $16.99, that is the same cheese! On the front, it does
say 'made in France', but the design of the lettering, and the description of how the cheese was made give it away.
I mean, this is seriously good cheese. Please don't buy them all up,
so that I can't find it the next time...
Do you think I like paying that much for a block of cheese?
That's what happens when you get addicted. I paid $23.99 for quite a few boxes at Whole Foods until I found it for less.
I snitched because I'm not selfish. I first tasted a small wedge of this on a cruise, and that is my story, and I'm sticking to it. That taste was the most memorable part of a very nice cruise.
Now that is downright weird!
Why would Whole Foods take one of the world's greatest cheeses (and many people consider it THE world's greatest cheese, which I won't disagree with since tasting un-pasturized Époisse in France), and relabel it with a meaningless, made-up name (at least as far as I can tell from a google search)?
Since Époisse is AOC-regulated, I can only imagine that the only reason they would do this is that it is not really qualified to be called Époisse under AOC regulations (wrong location or method of production). And if it costs exactly the same as a real Époisse at Wegmans, well shouldn't it cost less if it is a fake?
Maybe Delucacheesemonger can chime in with what this cheese is???
Does it have the little tower on the top of the wooden container? Berthaut is the only brand I ever see in the states. I recently had a raw-milk version from Gaugry at a wine & cheese party, which was unbelievable (and apparently the only raw milk version still made in France).
IMO, you will want to age Époisse first once you have purchased it. The perfect Époisse should be like very thick, but runny glue when served at room temperature (let sit for several hours first). Bibou often keeps one aging under the counter for us, because they know we like it runny.
I've never experimented myself, but I suppose the ideal would be to keep it at cheese cave temperature for a week, but who has a cheese cave. I would try leaving it at room temperature and monitor it daily. When ready, it should have the constancy of a rare steak by the thumb pressure test, and have very little ammonia smell.
But it should smell nasty!
Great responses all. I learned something here: about letting
either cheese 'ripen' before using. The St. Soleil that I bought had a sell date of 1/12, and wasn't quite as runny
at room temp as I would have liked.
And, the price of $28 for a pound coupe is a bargain,
except that that was so long ago, it's probably a lot more now.
There is another cheese made by Berthaut--affidelice,
that is also less expensive, my first purchase wasn't at all
as good as epoisses, but now I think it was the lack of aging--the second one I bought was almost indistinguishable in taste/runniness as the Epoisses.
Looking at a Herve Mons Epoisses box l puchased with the cheese in Roanne at his store from a trip to Troigros last spring. lt is au lait cru and says epoisses on it.
Am not familiar with St Soleil but PBYOB articles on the product make sit appear as Mons, the excellent marketer he is, is having a epoisses clone made for him. Whether in Burgundy or from elsewhere, it looks pretty good but is pasteurized, a huge difference from the Gaugry.
l tend to skip the cheese if Berthault, who used to make maybe 10-15 years ago a stellar product but no more, is the manufacturer. Often aged too long and has a very high salt level to keep it somewhat shelf worthy for a long, too long time.
This one l would give a shot.
Wow! I want to be at your side-by-side tasting!!
Actually, hands down which cheese would win. When I
got hooked on this cheese, it was on a cruise. There is no
doubt which Epoisses that was--straight from France, unpasteurized, even though I never saw the labeling.
The Bertaut has been a tad uneven also--most of the time,
the runniness on the plate and the complex flavor it was
just fine. Same with affedeliche, it's poor cousin-sometimes
fab, sometimes meh. You all have me convinced this is due
to the fine line on the maturity.
My box of St. Soleil was not ripe enough when I bought it.
It tastes good, but not sublime, but the lack of total runniness
on the plate gives it away.