The summer holidays are now over. We were traveling in France, of course also on the trail of cheese, wine and champagne. In Champagne we visited the pretty old town of Langres. The proximity to our family name Lancres and the place that gave its name to the cheese you will find in the September box made us curious.
At the gates of Champagne and Burgundy, the city of Langres appears to be the guardian of time from the top of its towers and ramparts. The one that is one of the oldest cities in France is also on the list of the most beautiful. Once you cross the walls of this unique city, you walk through alleys that cross the centuries. Gallo-Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, the latter follow each other in exceptionally well-preserved monuments. But even if the birthplace of Diderot (writer 1713-1784) has managed to preserve the treasures of its past, it is still a wonderful place to live, be it through its summer festivals or its hilly landscape with lakes and waterfalls. A city to enjoy with joy and intensity, like its cheese.
One way we conquered the city was with the small tourist train. It was exciting to drive around the city walls and wind through the narrow streets.
From the family of soft, washed-rind cheeses, Langres is easily recognized by the depression called a "cuvette" hollowed out on its top. Without the five standard millimeters that this basin must be deep, it is not a real Langres! This PDO cheese is ripened according to the traditional method, with successive "washes" that give it its beautiful orange color. Its peculiarity is that it is powerful on the nose but soft on the palate.
The shape comes from the fact that after the cheese has been drained and removed from the mold, it is salted and placed on racks in a drying room, where it is brushed regularly but never turned. Here it sinks a little more every day while its bark forms over the two to three weeks of maturity.
Langres is not a very old cheese. He was mentioned in a song composed by the prior of the Dominicans of Langres in the mid-18th century. At that time, its production was essentially agricultural and intended for family use or even the local market. The rich milk came from the Vosges cattle that grazed on the Langres plateau.
Although the tools have changed since then - the "fromotte", a clay mold, and the "chasière", a closed wicker basket in which it was placed to dry on plane tree leaves before ripening on oat straw, have been mothballed - the production has remained the same.