Port Salut Cheese
Port Salut Cheese is named after the abbey of Notre Dame du Port du Salut in Entrammes, France. The cheese is made in the Loire Valley in Brittany from pasteurized cow's milk. Twenty percent of France's cattle live in Brittany and it produces 20% of France's milk and a third of its butter.
Port Salut is made in 8" disks that weigh about 5 pounds. It is semi-soft and spongy with an off-white to ecru colored sticky paste covered with a thin coating of orange wax with markings of the cheese's wrappings used during its curing. Brine washing of the rind contributes to the cheese's rich flavor. It is aged for a month. It contains nearly 73 percent fat.
Port Salut has a mild funky smell with some mushroom. The rich buttery flavor is milder than the smell and it is mildly acidic. The flavor also has some meaty mushroom notes. I am eating the cheese with a Lakes and Legends Marigold, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale and with an O'So Oh You Witty Things Juicy Witbier. The O'So Witty Things does a good job cleansing the palate but it is a kettle sour and the sourness masks the coriander and orange peel and also dominates the malt and wheat notes. The beer doesn't detract from the cheese but it adds little. The cheese tones down the tartness a little and allows the beer's other flavors to come forward but it is not an ideal pairing.
The Lakes and Legends Marigold has a light sweetness that complements the cheese and has a more assertive malt presence that works better with the cheese flavors. The beer's bitterness finds a slight bitter note in the cheese during the after taste and spicy notes from the beer and the cheese linger. Port Salut will keep for a few weeks if well wrapped. I will have this beer and this cheese together again.
Port Salut contains 0.7% sugar which is probably lactose so it is not lactose freee.