Even though by size it is considered Brie’s little brother, some consider Coulommiers as a precursor to France’s most famous cheese. It can be distinguished by its homogeneous texture, soft but not runny, and by its refined, sweet almond flavour.
- Soft mould-ripened cheese.
- 45% to 50% fat content.
- Flat cylinder, 12 to 15 cm in diameter and 2.5-to-3-cm thick.
- Smooth and very creamy flavour with a white, bloomy rind dotted with red.
- Production: 56,000 tonnes.
While farm-made Coulommiers is particularly delicious between June and December, manufactured Coulommiers has the same quality year-round.
It pairs particularly well with a smooth, fruity red wine like Bourgueil or Côte de Beaune. It cooks the same way as Brie and Camembert and can be used in croquettes, canapés, cheese on toast, or potato croque briard.
Coulommiers is made from pasteurised, partly skimmed milk. The curd is moulded with a ladle or with a curd spreader into moulds that are 10-to-14-cm tall and 12 to 15 cm in diameter. Some operations use raw milk.
It is removed from the moulds, salted, then inoculated on all sides with Penicillium candidum.
The cheeses are generally aged for three to four weeks, during which time they undergo several turnings and are sometimes placed on wooden boards in order to perfect the drying process.
It is said that producers thought of making Coulommiers in a smaller size as early as the 11th century in order to make the fragile, crumbly cheese easier to transport.
The cheese was named after the town of Coulommiers because it was the location of the market that was closest to where it was produced.
The Coulommiers Cheese and Wine Festival takes place each year in the town on the Sunday before Easter.
As it is originally from Île-de-France, Coulommiers has long owed its success to its closeness to Paris. Today, it is also produced in Champagne, Burgundy, and Lorraine.