November, 2006 - Joanne

Cone de Port Aubry

Cone de Port Aubry

Also known as Cone du Port Aubry and Corne de Port Aubry

Cone de Port Aubry
Cone de Port Aubry is a raw goat’s milk cheese, and a cousin of the famous Loire cheese Crottin de Chavignol. The cheese is made very close to Selles sur Cher and is aged for two to three months on rye straw mats in caves giving a natural mold rind on the outside and a firm interior. The paste varies from pure white when young to a creamier color when it ages to almost light gold inside the rind.

The shape of Cone de Port Aubry is very distinctive in that it resembles an inverted bra cup – and in fact the story (and as far as I know it is a story) is that the cheesemaker needed something to hold and drain the curd for his new cheese and used his wife’s brassiere which he saw hanging on the line. It is currently made in a real mold. The cheese we enjoyed came from affineur Herve Mons who apparently jokes that it is our fortune that Madame was well endowed.

The texture of Cone de Port Aubry is firm but not hard and slightly crumbly, pliable. It has some density to the texture. The nose is of melted butter and softly warm goat with almosty a dusty earth undertone. The rind has more of a rancid butter aroma with notes of bloomy mold. Texture is slightly grainy turning smooth, almost creamy and melting and acidic on the finish. The flavors are complex, starting with buttered popcorn and buttered mushrooms, then fading into a pronounced acidity like crème fraiche/soured cream with a hint of lemon and a distinctive but subtle finish of hazelnuts. Near the rind the addition of musty cellar flavors, the buttery flavors turn slightly rancid and the acidity almost lemon-like. A really complex and interesting cheese which is hard for me to not swoon over.

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My Experience Buying Cone de Port Aubry: I purchased Cone de Port Aubry at both Whole Foods (in SF) ($36/lb) and Dean & DeLuca in St. Helena ($38/lb). Both Cones were in good shape, I would say at prime or slightly past peak. Both pieces I bought about 1/2 a cone, I thought had been recently not stored well. The bottom of the cone was sticky (it had not been had proper air circulation underneath). The layer at the bottom of dark yellow is indicative of the maturity and age of the cheese. You would not want a thick layer of gold yellow at the bottom. I found that dense gold yellow part inedible.

Where to Buy?
At this time I haven't found Cone de Port Aubry in stock anywhere. Your best course of action is to check with any cheesemonger who carries Herve Mons' cheeses. I suggest calling Murray's Cheese Shop in New York City.

Wine Pairing Suggestion:

Try with a Loire white like a Sancerre or Vouvray. We had it with a excellent Red Burgundy and it was fine but it paired better with something sweeter like the Pinot Gris we started with. I’ve even heard of it paired with Port.

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