In the Kingdom of Cheese
Cheese is an excellent choice to have it along with a mature Burgundy. Old goat's cheese! With mould or ashes. With a still soft core or already dried through so you can hardly cut it even with a sharp knife. A pleasant heat on the tongue. - Such a goat's cheese you won't find very often. So we were quite amazed on this year's trip when we found the shop gone - it was the one that had always provided us with this kind of cheese. Instead to this a shoe shop. Well, used ones might also smell of cheese, but definitely won't go along with wine ... So how would we manage to get the right cheese? Our disappointment was already written in our faces, but we didn't give in.
Good luck: The shop of Alain Hess didn't have to close down because we hadn't visited Burgundy over the last years and couldn't buy his mature cheese. But he simply had moved houses, to just around the corner. He has expanded and added a wine and delicacy section to his selection. He still had the cheese - what a relief.
Slowly drying cream cheeses that lose their humidity, become harder and harder and not seldomly enrobe with thick mould until they finally get really dry aren't everybody's taste. You have to approach them slowly. Along with mature, red Burgundy they taste delicious. A co-worker of Alain Hess told us that he goes to Paris every week where he buys many of the goat's cheeses. They are matured by himself. Over the weeks the cheese loses more and more of its volume and gets classy. The very dried through ones are shown on the following picture in the basket. Beneath there are the younger, still soft descendants - they are delicious, too. The ones in an in-between stage - dry on the outside, but soft inside - we like best. Sometimes you get hold of them exactly like that.
Not only goat's cheese goes well with Burgundy, but also normal cow cheese. The regional Epoisses are really outstanding - like the L'Ami du Chambertin. Those are rubbed in Marc, have a tasty crust and an opulent fragrance and taste. Well known French classics are the Brie de Meux and the Comté. We saw the latter in great supplies in the shop. Alain Hess obtains it directly from a producer from the nearby Jura. A whole piece weights respectable 35 kilos (5.5 stone).
Alain Hess not only matures goat's cheese over some weeks, but he also produces cheese of his own. The Délice de Pommard - a soft cheese made of cow milk in some variations. It's very good with truffle and artful with Cassis.
The shop of Alain Hess is now situated at the Place Carnot, No. 7, in Beaune. And the shoes? We didn't tried them! Perhaps next time ...