- French Cheeses
- Quality of cheese
- The French way of life
© V. RIBAUT / Les Studios Associés / CNIEL
Cendré cheeses are intrinsically linked to wine-growing in the Champagne area. Cow’s milk cheeses were traditionally stored in cases filled with the ashes of vine shoots before being served to the agricultural workers, particularly during harvest season. This cheese is a vestige of times gone by when refrigerators did not yet exist.
The dusty gray rind has a sandy appearance, and is made up of the ashes of poplar and beech. Inside, the tender, silky ivory paste is comparable to that of Brie.
The taste of this cheese is very similar to that of Brie, but is more distinctive; and its ashy rind provides it with a delicious smoky taste. Traditionally, vine shoot ashes were used instead of wood ashes. Cheeses that were kept fresh using this technique were very popular among wine-growers and harvesters. Today, the wood ash is made up of wood coal reduced to a fine powder. The technique promotes proper drainage, helps the rind and flora develop, and gives it a regular appearance.