#32 – Banon
Banon cheese facts:
- Coming from the market-town of Banon, just north of Aix in southern France, Banon is a soft unpasteurized, natural-rind cheese made from a mixture of sheep and goat milk.
- Granted AOC status in 2003, Banon is a very old, traditional cheese said to date back to the Gallo-Roman era.
- The cheese is wrapped in a case of chestnut leaves, held in place with raffia. Cheese makers gather the leaves in autumn when they fall off the trees. Some of the producers dip the leaves and raffia in vinegar or eau-de-vie to impart a unique flavor to the cheese.
- The legend says that the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (86-161 A.D.) ate so much of Banon that he died.
- Banon is creamy with a full fruity and woody flavor. The cheese is best after having ripened for a few weeks. Rripening can result in a small amount of edible blue mold under the wrapper. This mold helps to develop the flavor of the cheese.