Photo of Abondance Cheese
Important Facts
Country of Origin France
Specific Origin Haute-Savoie
Certification AOC (1990)
Milk Type Cow's milk
Milk Treatment Raw
Rind Thin reddish-brown rind
Texture Semi-cooked, pressed
Flavor Savory, yet fruity with an intense "umami" taste
Flavor Notes More "fruity", "animal", "boiled milk", and "hazelnut" flavors noted in cheeses from higher pastures
Aroma Yeasty
Colors Golden yellow to brown rind; ivory to slightly yellow interior
Forms Wheels (13-26 pounds, 3 inches high, 15-17 inches diameter)
Age 100 days to 8-12 months

About Abondance Cheese

Abondance is a semi-hard cheese from Haute-Savoie, France. It earned AOC status in 1990, ensuring it's made with traditional methods and raw milk in the Haute-Savoie mountains. The cheese is named after the Abondance cow, known for its distinctive brown "spectacles." Originating in the twelfth century, monks at the Augustine Abbey first produced it. It became famous in 1381, when it was served at a papal conclave in Avignon.

The cheese is produced in cooperatives or on farms. It comes from herds mainly composed of Abondance, Tarentaise, or Montbéliarde cows. Seasonal variations affect its production. In summer, it's made from the milk of grazing cows, while in winter, the milk comes from barn-kept cows. The manufacturing process involves traditional techniques, including using a copper vat and manually cutting and molding the curd.

The cheese ages on spruce planks in caves or cellars, developing a reddish-brown rind. Abondance wheels have a concave edge and a creamy, ivory to yellow interior with small, evenly distributed holes. Its texture is smooth and fine. The taste is yeasty, savory, and fruity with a notable "umami" flavor when melted, resembling Raclette.

Abondance cheese's flavor benefits from alpine pasture milk. This milk gives the cheese "fruity," "animal," "boiled milk," and "hazelnut" notes, with less pungency than valley pasture milk. Protein-based volatile compounds contribute to this flavor difference.

Abondance can be enjoyed raw or in berthoud. For berthoud, ramekin dishes are rubbed with garlic and filled with cheese slices, white Savoie wine, optional Madeira, and pepper. Then, they are grilled. This preparation showcases the cheese's versatility and rich flavor.

The cheese is pale yellow with a creamy texture and a nutty, buttery, fruity aroma. It remains a celebrated cheese, known for its fine taste and melt-in-the-mouth texture.

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