The following article is by French expert cheese maker Gerald Tanesse (now living in Cape Town)
Le bouchon: “Hey you! Yes you!” Hello, or should I say Bonjour as French is my home language and the country where I was born. You are looking at me through the glass door of the fridge wandering what can I be? I am a cork, in French we say bouchon, yes like mouth which is bouche and add on which makes bouchon.
I am the smallest in the large cheese family of Buches which counts over 40 different kinds with all the same shape but with a weight varying from 12 to 2000 grams. In English Buche is Log, like the piece of wood that you burn in the fireplace in winter.
All buches are made with goats milk, and the best one are made with unpasteurized goats milk, the biggest one weighs 2 kilos and is sold in slices, the most common one weighs around 3 to 400 gr, the baby buche is called a buchette, like a lot of french words a fille is a girl and a little girl is a fillette, so the buchette is a small Buche.
The buchette weighs around 180 gr and tends to be creamier than the buche. And me, the bouchon I am the smallest one, I weigh 12 to 18 gr, when I am born (demoulded) I can weigh up to 20 gr but as I mature I shrink and dry and end up weighing close to half my original weight.
When I am young my taste is mild, slightly nutty with a smooth and creamy texture, but then as I shrink I become stronger with notes of pepper and i stay longer in your mouth as you chew me, I stick to your palate, and even washed down with a glass of Sauvignon blanc or Chenin Blanc or should I say a Sancerre, the French Wine that must be drunk in France when you eat a Bouchon, my aftertaste lingers in your mouth.
Because I am small my taste and texture changes quickly, the smaller the cheese the quicker the maturation and the drying, very much like fruits, a plum or an apricot will shrink and become wrinkly whereas a Nectarine will go soft and full of sweet juice rather than drying. I can be eaten slowly cut in tiny slices like a miniature salami or as a whole, like a sweet, if you are impatient. If you would like to taste me go to www.pepecharlot.co.za.
Read more at Gerald’s website The Cheese Guru