21 July 2015

Langres, a cheese — and a TV show

I discovered a new cheese the other day. New to me, I mean. It comes from a region that is in northern Burgundy called Langres, and the cheese is of course called by the same name. It's a cow's milk cheese that is fairly mild and creamy. I ate some for the first time yesterday.

Langres is not far north of Dijon. It's now on my list of places I haven't yet visited that I'd really like to see.

It was a nice coincidence to find Langres cheese when I did. A few days earlier, I had watched a French TV show called Les Carnets de Julie, hosted by a young woman named Julie Andrieu. The episode was about Langres and featured the cheese baked into a tart.

Walt and I have been watching different shows of Julie Andieu's on different TV channels here for years, but now the channel we watched more than any other, Cuisine +, has gone off the air. I found Les Carnets de Julie on YouTube a couple of weeks ago, and I've downloaded dozens of them (see below).

I found the Langres cheese at SuperU. I'd never noticed it there before.

As you can see from the photo above, Langres has been designated as an AOP cheese. AOP is a European appellation that is replacing the older French AOC (appellation d'origine contrôlee) and means appellation d'origine protégée. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, I guess.

If you are interested in France, its regions, regional foods and specialties, and the French language, I really recommend Julie Andrieu's shows. The one about Langres is just below, for your viewing pleasure.

Here's one more photo of the fromage de Langres as I enjoyed at lunch yesterday. You can see how creamy it looks. It's not strong-tasting or strong-smelling at all, and I will definitely buy it again, if I can find it again.

Here's a link to a YouTube screen where you'll find many of the Carnets de Julie shows. They aren't cooking shows, exactly, but they aren't exactly travelogues either. The format has Andrieu going to one French region or another — there are good shows about Paris and about the Touraine region too, among dozens of others — and going to see people in their homes or workplaces. People cook regional specialties and she assists them, and then she gives the recipe. The shows run about 45 minutes, with some longer than others.

At the end of each show, Andrieu hosts a big potluck meal where all the people featured in that episode are invited to bring their particular dish and share it with the others. You really feel like you are taking part in the banquet — you can almost smell and taste the food. If you are learning French and interested in France, food, and cooking, it's a real treat.


  1. Just like you, I had never heard of fromage de Langres. For some reason, maybe the color, it reminds me of Neuchâtel cheese. I wonder about the taste?

    I just looked at half the Franche-Comté épisode. It was very lively and interesting. That Julie Andrieu's program was a learning experience for me.

    1. I enjoyed the Franche-Comté episode too and I'm sure I will watch it again several times.

    2. Oh, and the Langres cheese is not salty like Neufchâtel. It's a little like Epoisses, which is another Burgundy cow's milk cheese, but it's not a runny and strong-tasting. The Langres is really good and I don't think I've ever seen it around here before.

  2. Julie's shows are the next best thing to being in France. A bit like your blog. Thank you.

  3. Ken, thanks for the link. Julie recently went to La Perriere (May 9, I think). I tried to watch the show at the time but couldn't. Now I'll check for it on youtube.

    We may be going to the Morvan so I'll look at that one too.

    1. The next one I plan to watch is the one about Le Morvan too.

  4. Will watch the episode this afternoon. I'm having a hard time with the fact that you and chm haven't tried all the cheeses in France yet lol.

    1. From what I heard on the show, the Langres cheese went extinct 40 or 50 years ago, and was brought back only relatively recently. I'm glad to have learned about it and to have tasted it now.

    2. That's why you didn't know about it. The video was fun to watch. It reminded me of our visit to Auvergne.

  5. Thanks for the link. Although my French isn't so hot, it sounds too interesting to pass up. As to Langres, we had it several years ago when we spent a week in the Champagne area, where it's produced. We also had a lot of Chaource that week, which is somewhat similar and more easily found.

    1. We went to Chaource in 2011 when we were driving back from Champagne to the Loire Valley. I like Chaource cheese a lot, and I stopped there to buy some. We can easily find it in our supermarkets here.

    2. Ken, it used to be possible to find Chaource in the US, even here in Portland Maine. It was pasteurized (unlike some of the ones we had in Champagne); the brand was Lincet. Sometimes it could be very good, depending on how it was handled and how long it had been around. The other thing I remember about Chaource the town (besides the cheese) is that I had the best meal I've ever had at a gas station. There were 4 of us, we had just left the Chaource producer we visited, and nothing else in the town was open. And the lunch was very good.

    3. Don't you just love good experiences like that?

    4. Yes, but my comment comes with a caveat -- Don't try this at home. Somehow I wouldn't expect to find a good meal at a gas station in the US. Although when I lived in Charlotte, NC, 30+ years ago there was a gas station that was also a very good wine shop. And I once had excellent Mexican food at a bowling alley in southern California. And [just] one more suggestion -- if you're ever in the town of Faugeres in the Languedoc, there's a gas station that has an enormous selection of Faugeres wines. Cheers.

  6. Thanks for the heads up on Carnets de Julie. I'm sure it will be a good program to build/polish my vocabulary and pronunciation.

  7. I heartily second the recommendation for Les Carnets de Julie. We really enjoy the programme and watch it often. She has a very nice way with people and it's always interesting. It hadn't occurred to me to look for them on YouTube, so I am grateful for the link.

    1. I like JA's manner too, and I enjoy hearing all the people she meets and interviews. I have downloaded a lot of her shows onto a USB thumb drive than I can plug into the side of the television set and watch them that way. The quality is pretty good.

  8. I used to vow that my husband would not eat cheese unless you could smell it next door ... shuddering at the thought of all those stinky cheeses he loved and who was I to say eat it outside ??

  9. When we can get U-Bend videos properly, I am going to enjoy watching these...
    until then... I'll imagine!!
    Can't even download long programmes...
    keeps bottling out...
    especially so at the moment....
    with all the Parisians at their two weeks a year "homes in the country"...

    Pauline's "Cooks Guide to Cheese" by Juliet Harbutt[1995] says of Langres:
    [and this is a precis... it is a long entry]...
    "It comes from Champagne Ardennes...
    two sizes 180g... or 800g... or a one and three-quarter pounder!
    it is an unpasteurized, washed-rind cow's milk cheese...
    believed to have been introduced to the region by monks in the Middle Ages.

    "The shape is unusual and is caused by turning the cheese only twice during draining...
    the whey then causes the hollow as it passes through the second time....
    The bright coloured rind is orange bacteria that grows during the continual washing process....
    the white is yeasts...."

    Now the good bit....
    "The cheese is notable for its pungent smokey-bacon aroma...
    when young the texture is firm and grainy...
    later the rind starts to break down and becomes smooth-flowing and creamy...
    the flavour intensifies [with age? I presume... that's a 'hanger']....

    And the really, really good bit...
    "Some affineurs pour eau-de-vie into the crater. This gradually seeps into the cheese, adding a new dimension to an already powerful flavour"
    I presume Marc de Champagne would be the correct eau-de-vie to use....
    We will be getting some Langres....

  10. Langres is 80 km north of Dijon and 240 km south of Reims. It's also 120 km southeast of Troyes.... but it is officially in the Champagne-Ardenne region. Thanks for the review.

    1. That's France... we have a bit of Bossay sur Claise that juts up and inbetween us and Preuilly...
      the veg farm Susan blogged about recently lies there... kilometres away from the centre of Bossay itself!

      And on the subject of Cheese:
      the new 2014 recording on "Dinosaurs ate my Caravan"


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