Jean d'Alos

Bordeaux, France
In the fall of 2001 we met Jean d'ALos for a tour, talk and lunch with 13 cheeses. We dined in the chilly cave down a long flight of stairs beneath Jean d’Alos’ cheese shop in Bordeaux. After a short tour of his three cheese caves (different kinds of cheeses are stored in different rooms for temperature and to prevent mold contaminations), we enjoyed a selection of cheese and wine, accompanied by a introduction of each cheese.

If you are ever in Bordeaux you must visit Jean d'Alos' shop. Don’t forget to score the “butter of the gods,” a raw milk butter with crunchy salt crystals which is not exported to the US.

My (Joanne's) notes and what we tasted:

fermier - means made at the farm from milk and cheese from same farm.
artisan - milk can come from different farms to make cheese.

Robiola - (Italy) -a fresh cheese made from cow's milk

Rocamadour - AOC - a fresh goat's milk a very small round cheese.

Perail - brebis - not good with sauvignon blanc small-medium round with a white rind.

Mascaret - chevre et brebis from Provence. A small square wrapped in dried chestnut leaves. You should eat the inside first before trying rind. Nice spicy fall flavor but a drier curd with heavier texture and a white rind

Chaource - aoc cow's milk - fermier - sharp bitter taste like blue cheese almost. Joanne didn't like white rind.

St. Felicin - near Grenoble-artisan - cows - salty Jack likes it and says get some! Soft creamy round medium to small size cheese. The rind has blueflecks ok to eat but the rind changes the flavor; good with sauvignon blanc.

Tome du Couserans
- cow - Pyrenees; mild nutty flavor strong but good. We liked it with white wine. It is the most like alsatian meunster - it has holes and is a harder creamy cheese

Coulommiers - cow- near Camembert. A strong flavor that Jack liked, "Buy some." (But not imported by Cowgirl Creamery/Artisan Cheese, alas.)

Reblochon - AOC - cow's milk-artisan made with a green mark on bottom. A white wine cheese, smooth golden creamy with dark orange/gold rind

Comte - AOC - reservation fruite montange 2000 - cow - large wheel. There are over 200 producers Jean selects from. He buys from three producers near Geneva. This is harder cheese golden with dark brown rind aged 1-2 years. Never eat the rind. Jack liked a lot. Jean says this is one of the most if not the most complex tasting cheese.

Laruns -brebis-Pyrenees fermier. A salty harder-texture but still soft large hard rind cheese

Roquefort - brebis - Not to Jack's taste. Salty.

Veritable caille pur brebis 15cl like thick whole milk custard eat w/sugar dessert style
I loved this – but of course it is not exported to the USA!

Since there were only six of us in the cellar (a good thing as space is precious) questions and answers flowed freely. Jack inquired about his favorite cheese of that moment, Mont d'Or, and was told that it is produced in the fall only and comes from eastern France.

A selection of
Jean d'Alos's cheeses
are available from
Artisan Cheese/Cowgirl Creamery

in Northern California. They do ship.

For even more on Jean d'Alos,
read Pim's terrific blog entry at Chez Pim.

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