Monday, March 12, 2007

Pere Joseph

In cheese, like beer, the religious institutions of Belgium have put out an incredible range of rich, distinctive offerings. For centuries, the monasteries and abbeys there have been among the world’s most interesting culinary workshops.

They still are, thank heavens.

Historically, a problem was that monastic producers were often not equipped to produce for the export market. If they did, the cheese was expensive. That’s changing, the former sooner than the latter.

Pere Joseph is a semisoft cow’s milk variety (pasteurized), with a supple and smooth texture. It’s interesting and complex to taste, creamy and a bit salty. The aromatic cheese is often described as a much more palatable kind of Limburger.

PAIRINGS: Winey abbey ales from Belgium -- for example, Leffe Blonde -- go perfectly well with Pere Joseph. So do slightly sweet white wines, such as Gewürtztraminer or Viognier.