This soft cheese with bloomy rind is a cousin of Saint-Marcellin and has similar production and ripening techniques, but is larger, milder, and creamier. Initially produced in the Ardèche using goat’s milk, it is now made using raw or pasteurised cow’s milk, and following renneting, it is ripened for at least 10-12 days before being sold. It is made in the Rhône and the Isère for the most part. The current formula was reportedly invented by a Lyon dairyman at the beginning of the 20th century, and its name is derived from Place Saint Félicien, where his stall was located.
Its natural thin rind is ivory to yellow in colour and has a slightly folded appearance. Depending on how much it is ripened, its texture ranges from smooth to runny. The milky aroma is very present. The production method, which uses a mild curd, gives Saint-Félicien a fresh, lightly salted and acid flavour, ideal for preparing the palate for tasting different cheeses on a platter, with a mild, hazelnut aroma. Longer maturation gives the centre a softer texture and a more pronounced flavour, with barn floor aromas, until it takes on a runny aspect and a distinctive flavour that lingers in the mouth, after around the 28th day.
Sesame seed baguette
Under its golden, crunchy rind is a soft, light crumb, with a mild flavour enhanced by the roasted sesame seeds and wheatgerm which give it delicious notes of hazelnut.
Sensory pairing: a marriage of subtleties
As an iconic French bread, baguette goes particularly well with soft cheeses and bloomy rinds. The crunchy aspect creates a beautiful contrast with the creamy texture of the Saint-Félicien. The mildness of the crust allows the cheese to express its freshness. With longer maturation, it can adjust the more marked flavour of the cheese.
Another potential pairing: a delicious fruit loaf