After bringing you a rather mundane and tame cheese last blog post, I was stricken by guilt-guilt that I had let down my legions of readers. Perhaps legions is overly strong, but I know you readers are out there, and I’m so sorry to have bored you with such a pedestrian cheese.
To make up for that egregious oversight, I went searching for the most interesting looking cheese to review next, and that’s when I stumbled across this little beauty, Bouton-de- Culotte. Have you ever studied French? No? Well, let me help you out, Bouton-de-culotte means “buttons of pants” (of course, I prefer zippers to buttons, but that’s just me,) and it’s no wonder this cheese is called a button, because it’s just as cute as one, and also, about the same size as one.
This Bouton-de-Culotte really did catch my eye, both because of its diminutive size and dark grey colour, but also because of its ridiculous price tag. My small Bouton cost nearly 7$ for really, a tiny morsel. It’s the caviar of the cheese world.
According to sources, Bouton-de-Culotte is actually a small Maconnais French cheese, (NB,Maconnais are also made from goat’s milk and carry the AOC designation.) It is from the Bourgognes region (Burgandy) in France. Boutons are traditionally stored during the autumn to be used throughout the winter. They are made of raw goat’s milk, so are bound to be rather raunchy twice, and who doesn’t like that in a cheese? By the winter when the cheese is ready to be eaten, the rind gets dark brown and the cheese becomes hard and it can then be grated into dishes for a little goaty je ne sais quoi?
And that’s about it for Bouton-de-Culotte, everything else on the ‘net is in French. It’s really quite a little mystery. How long has it been around? Who knows? Who makes it? A mystery. Why is it so damn expensive? Beats me. We will all have to be satisfied with these questions being unanswered. Alas.
But enough of that, my little Bouton seems more grey and white than brown in colour. Also, it’s currently August and these are supposed to be made in the autumn and eaten in the winter, so exactly how old is this cheese? Normally I’m into the rind, but the colour and age have frightened me, today I will be sampling the paste only. If I’m not here again in the next couple of weeks, it was the cheese!
My bouton smells like mushrooms and goat hooves-as it should. It’s musky and also redolent with the essence of barn. When I slice the cheese it’s firm, but not overly hard. It cuts and does not crumble. It’s a deep yellow colour near the ashy white rind and more of a chalky white near the centre.
Wow! That packs a punch. Its really salty and slightly astringent, but with a lovely kick of goat. The paste has a nice chew, it melts on the tongue and teeth and does not crumble. It’s very flavourful, the combination of raw milk and goat means that all pistons are firing here. I dare not eat the rind, but as I approach it I do taste mushroom and fungus in a funky, salty way. I’m sure if I was brave enough to eat it, it would add another dimension to the cheese, but I am frightened and timid. It’s not at all offensive or overwhelming, no hint of foul mould or anything like that, but its certainly not a starter cheese. It’s actually freaking delicious, too bad its so damn expensive and way too small. One was not enough. Sigh, its all gone. That was fun.
If you are looking for a little goat adventure and feeling flush, go for it, it just might be your slice of cheese.