Abondance is a mountain raw milk cheese made in the Haute-Savoie department of France.
It was only quite recently (1990) admitted to the Appellation d’origine contrôlée or AOC family.
It gets its name from the valley and village of Abondance, located in the northern region of the French Alps, right on the border with Switzerland.
The Abondance cheese can only be made using milk from the following three breeds of cattle: Montbeliarde, Abondance and Tarine. So Abondance is the name of a cheese, a valley, a town and a cattle breed.
The cheese is produced through a gentle heating process, never surpassing 50°C. It is then ripened on a spruce plank for 90 days. What is so typical for an Abondance is the concave edges of the wheel. A complete wheel weighs 8 to 12 kilos.
The cheese comes in two forms: Farm-produced , which carries an oval blue casein seal, or Dairy-produced , which carries a square blue casein seal. Farm-produced is made on farms in the mountain pastures of the Alps, while Dairy-produced is produced in cheese dairies or cooperatives.
The central pâte is semi-hard with a strong smell and with an aroma of nutty vegetation very similar to that of the Beaufort cheese.
Its rind is smooth with an amber colour showing canvas marks with a creamy, supple and velvety. The affinage takes at least 100 days, so all the subtle aromas are realised.
The cheese has an intensively fruity, buttery and hazelnut flavour, with a great balance of acidity and sweetness, followed by a lingering aftertaste. The best time to enjoy this cheese is between July and November.
Abondance Wine Pairings
As a rule, the whiter and fresher the cheese the crisper and fruitier the wine should be. The cheese will pair well with Local Savoie white wines like Crépy, Marignan, Marin and Ripaille or a Chablis. Light and fruity reds such as Beaujolais, but also elegant white Burgundies.