There is no denying that cheese has plenty to say to our noses. A funky Camembert may be one person’s idea of heaven on earth, and another’s idea submission for Fear Factor. But what actually goes into generating those cheesy aromas?
Cheese is a fermented product and gets to be what it is thanks to the hard work of bacteria naturally present in the milk, moulds that have set up shop on the cheese surface, and enzymes that are busy breaking down the sugars and proteins in the milk. Combine the special smells of the above with the particular milk type and composition and you get a different smell for every cheese!
If you’re not a fan of the whiff, stick to cheeses low in water content, and avoid washed-rind cheeses.
Stinky Cheese Facts:
- Public Enemy #1: In France, the notoriously stinky cheese Epoisses is banned from public transportation.
- The Smelliest of All: Scientists at Cranfield University in England conducted a study to name the world’s stinkiest cheese. The winner: Vieux Boulogne, a beer-washed cow’s milk cheese from France.
- Embrace the Stink: Wallace & Grommit endorsed England’s Stinking Bishop cheese, and sales went through the roof. Washed in perry (a local pear cider), this cheese definitely lives up to its name.