Discovering a new cheese is like making a new friend… even when the cheese in question has been around for hundreds of years. It turns out that my find, pont l’évêque, was first made by monks in Normandy in the 12th century.
It is one of a trio of cheeses from the region that is popular throughout France – alongside camembert and livarot.
So I am at a loss to understand why it has passed me by over the years.
After all, it comes in a square box, which sets it apart from most cheeses on the supermarket shelves or delicatessen counters. Plus, it is a soft, pungent cow’s milk cheese with an attractive orange-tinged washed rind – all of which rings my bell.
I was so taken with it that I even went to the place it is named after last weekend. Pont l’Évêque is a pretty town of half-timbered buildings, situated in the departement of Calvados in Lower Normandy. It lies at the meeting point of the Calonne, Touques and Yvie rivers, which made transporting the cheese easy and explains how it became popular further afield in the Middle Ages.
Although I have discovered pont l’évêque, erm, only during my own middle age, I fully expect it to become a lifelong friend.