Are you fretting because there are only 65 cheeses left? Please don’t, my darlings, after this next remaining week in the land of bloomy rind, we shall sharply deviate (yes, we do like the sounds of that) and start sampling more types of cheese in somewhat less breadth. This will allow for a thorough accounting for all the cheese groups, with perhaps less of an OCD-like focus on every exact type as I concede this is virtually impossible. By some reckoning there are over two thousand cheeses in existence-not to mention all the extinct cheese which we shall take a minute of silence for now. Done.
Today we shall be sampling Fougerus-and I just realize I am referring to myself in the third person again, which must be some sort of cheese poisoning. Truthfully-I’m not like this in real life. Fougerus is a pasteurized cow cheese (note this, pregnant women!) with a bloomy rind. The wrapper says, “Coloumiers style brie with fern leaves on top which are not only decorative, but impart an earthy taste.” When I was a child my auntie dated a man who made sand cast candles with ferns in them (yes, hippies) and this image of the fern cheese is somewhat reminiscent of his candles. I was always under the impression that ferns were actually poisonous unless eaten in the “fiddle leaf” stage where they are tightly curled, but, evidentially not. Or let’s hope not. If there is no blog post 36 please alert the authorities that it was the fern.
Fougerus is a new twist on an old cheese, and belongs to the brie family (incidentally, who knew it was a family, didn’t you think there was just one brie?) A cheese very much like this-without the fern-was produced on the farm for personal consumption in Ile de france (Northern France). The cheese is traditionally made with unpasteurized milk, but the commercial variation is made with pasteurized-likely to please health laws and the pregnant. I do find reference on the net disparaging the negative impact this pasteurization has on the quality of the cheese.
Fougerus is made by one company only, Rouzaire, and was created by our old friend, Robert Rouzaire, who also invented Pierre Robert cheese by taking a perfectly good piece of Brillat Savarin and leaving it in a cave for too long. According to legend he was creating a new cheese and there was a flaw on the rind which he tried to hide with a fern, then he sort of liked how it looked-the French word for fern is “fougere” so there you have it.
My little slice of Fougerus looks like a sticky little piece of brie-white on the outside, yellow with tiny little eyes on the inside, glistening and slightly oozy. It’s got the real eau du chat-box when you bring it up to your nose, thus it’s clear that the ammonia has had a chance to develop. Mmmmm. OK, enough.
This is a nice little cheese, quite salty-that’s the first hit is salt, not sweet at all, which is a little disappointing. I don’t taste fern, but I suppose that’s a good thing. It has that, well “brie” taste, smooth, buttery and a tiny bit uric-just a little!
The texture is really quite divine, it’s perfectly smooth and creamy and just a little overly unctuous, a little overly friendly. This cheese wants to pack up its bags and move right in with you, and it’s only the first date!