Banon is a stunning unpasteurised French goat’s milk cheese produced outside the town of Banon in Provence, south-east France. Also known as Banon à la feuille, it was only quite recently (2003) admitted to the AOC family; however, it is a traditional cheese said to be dated back to the Gallo-Roman era.
The cheese is characterised by a circular shape around 7 cm in diameter and 2.5 cm in height, and weighing around 100 grams. This pungent uncooked, unpressed cheese is made of a fine soft white pâte that is wrapped in chestnut leaves and tied with raffia prior to shipping.
This fromage is aged for a minimum of two weeks. As it matures further, the soft and sticky pâte develops blue and gray moulds on and under the leaves, leading to a strong and intense flavour.
The leaves-wrapping protects the washed-rind disc and allows the young, slightly acidic cheese to be protected and remain moist. Mixture of sweet and strong flavours, it also imparts a fresh vegetable flavour with a hint of wine. In fact, some of the producers dip the leaves and raffia in vinegar or eau-de-vie to provide this unique flavour to the cheese. The alcohol protects the cheese against bad mould and slowly the chestnut leaf aroma influences the cheese’s taste.
Banon Cheese Tasting
The cheese takes on the aroma and the colour from the chestnut leaf and gives the taste earthy tones. With its unique taste, Banon is a cheese with character, ranging from firm, mild and lactic to soft, creamy and smooth, with a nutty flavour.
Banon Cheese Pairings
The cheese goes well with crusty baguette, fresh fruits and a glass of dry white wine
The farmers of the region eat the cheese by scooping it up with a teaspoon and washing it down with cooled local red or white wine.