The Époisses (AOC since 1991)

Monday 26th September 2011.

-   935 T per year
-   56 milk producers
-   3 industrial producers
-   1 farmer
-   + 30% exportations

The Epoisses is a cow’s milk cheese from Bourgogne, with a soft pate and a washed rind. Usually made with pasteurised or thermized milk, it has 25% of fat for its total weight. It exists two kinds of Epoisses: the little (95 to 115 mm across, 250 to 350 gr) and the great (165 to 190 mm across, 700 gr to 1,1 kg).

In 2011 the Epoisses is rarely made with raw milk.


-   Thermized or pasteurised milk.
-   Montbéliarde, Brune or Simmental breeds of cow.
-   Minimum 4 weeks of maturation.
-   Area of production: western Côte d’Or, Yonne and Haute-Marne.


The history of that cheese began in the XVIth century, in the Epoisses village. Created by the monks, the recipe of Epoisses was transmitted to the villagers, which improved it. It became a famous speciality and was ranked 2nd in an international cheese competition in 1815. Brillat-Savarin, a french judge, author and great gastronome considered the Epoisses as the « king of the cheeses ». It totally disappeared after the First World War but a couple of farmers, Simone and Robert Berthaut, resurrected it some decades ago. It obtained an AOC in 1991 and seduces more gourmets year after year.


The Epoisses is a complicated cheese to make. The milk is heated up between 25 and 30°C. Then it is curdled with spices and eau-de-vie during 16 hours and put in special pierced containers for 2 days minimum. After that, the cheese is salted, dried, and sent to a cold and humid cellar, where it stays 5 to 8 weeks. It is washed 2 to 3 times a week with a mixture of water, white wine and marc de Bourgogne.

Choice and tasting

Eyes: shiny rind, orange to red, smooth or a bit wrinkled. The pate is beige to white.

Nose: pleasant fragrance of eau-de-vie.

Palate: powerful taste, but creamy and delicate texture.

The Epoisses will be very appreciated at the end of a meal. Taste it with a dry white wine from Bourgogne for a moment of cheerfulness.

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