Banon au Poivre d'Áne (au Feuille)(au Pèbre d'Aï)


A small disc of semi-soft to soft cheese made with sheep’s, goat’s or cow’s milk, steeped in brandy or eau-de-vie, wrapped in dried chestnut or, occasionally, savory leaves and tied up with raffia. It has a creamy, white paste and a sticky rind under the leaves, which conserve the moisture. It is named after the market town of Banon in Haute-Provence and is made in Isère, Drôme and Vaucluse. This cheese is at its best from from May to November, is made with raw, whole milk and contains 45% fat (dry). The curds are uncooked and unpressed. It may be found in the following dimensions: 6-7 cm (2½") diameter x 2.5-3 (1") cm deep, weighing 90-120 g (3-5 oz). Affinage is from 2 weeks to 2 months. It has a sweet, nutty taste which becomes piquant as it ages. The variety of milks arises from the tradition of making Banon with sheep's milk in winter and spring, goat's milk (said to be the best) in summer and autumn (US: fall), with some cow all year round. Cow's milk now predominates this industrially produced cheese.

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