Père Joseph is a semi-hard, somewhat strongly-scented cheese from the Walloon Region of Belgium. But for all the times I have had it… I don’t get the common description that it is “nearly as stinky as and has a flavor like limburger”. Pish posh… perhaps some time ago in it’s more farmstead-artisan roots when trappist monks washed it with brine to create a ripe, stinky hard cheese, it carried more of the funk of feet trodding the cobbles in heavy wool vestments. And perhaps such a version still exists but I’ve yet to be, erm… blessed by it.
Modern Père Joseph is aged over a month, it enrobed in brown poly/paraffin rind.
The pale yellow paste with occasional small, irregular holes from fermentation looks a lot like Edam. Its taste is nothing like limburger, it’s creamy and easy melting due to its high fat levels; tangy like a cheddar and a little bitter; a little salt for balance, brown butter, butterscotch, sweet.
Though I’ve never seen occasion to believe he himself was a cheesemaker, Père Joseph is named after François Leclerc du Tremblay, aka Father (Père) Joseph. Known in the courts as Baron de Mafflier, Joseph was a soldier and eventually served the embassy to London. He renounced worldly pursuits and joined the Capuchin priory of Orléans but couldn’t stay out of the political scene for long. History best knows him as an advisor to Cardinal Richelieu, in the early 17th century.
Père Joseph is a traditional breakfast cheese in Belgium, and is also a common dessert cheese in the region.
Cheese: Père Joseph
Milk Type: cow (pasteurized)
Rind: washed & poly-coated
Shape: 16lb wheel
Tasting notes: Almost mild-cheddary, bitter, brown butter, butterscotch, sweet, much like aged Gouda it hangs around for a while.