July 31, 2014

This Cheese Doesn't Suck: Chimay Gold


    The monks of the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Scourmont, near the town of Chimay, Belgium have been producing their now famous beer and rich, cows milk cheese since the mid-19th century.  Needing to generate modest funds for the abbey, the monks settled on two things most people can't get enough of; alcohol and fatty, delicious dairy products.  What came out of their efforts became iconic.  Chimay beer and cheese of the same name are meant to be eaten together.  You'd be hard pressed to find a cheese enthusiast or beer snob that hasn't at least heard of Chimay.  
    Chimay Gold is an interesting offering from the brand.  Traditionally the monks cheeses were washed in local spring water.  Which helped to cultivate the pungent, sticky pink-y orange rind of Brevibacterium linens.  Yes, purposely cultivated bacteria on the out side of the cheese.  That rind of bacteria found on all washed rind cheese is what helps such cheeses develop their distinct strong flavors.  
    However, Chimay Gold, is washed instead in the abbey's own Chimay beer.  The results are glorious.  The cheese's texture is still the silky, sticky, chewy-ness of plain Chimay cheese.  However the flavor is turned up a notch.  Bring out creamy notes of hops, grain, sun-baked soil, and dry roasted peanut.
    Pair this cheese with its primary partner Chimay beer or any fine locally brewed pale ale.