Cantal PDO

Auvergne - Rhône-Alpes
Production area
Auvergne - Rhône-Alpes

Behind this unmistakable cylinder is one of France's oldest cheeses. Cantal cheese is a pure product of its terroir, so much so that it takes its name from the mountainous massif in its native department. Its AOC and PDO status are richly deserved. Awarded in 1956 and 1996 respectively, they set out the production requirements for this cow's milk cheese, which is pressed twice and then ripened for 30 days to over six months. This is how it can range from softly textured, with a wonderful buttery taste to almost crumbly with intense, even slightly spicy flavors.

What you need to know

Impervious to passing time and trends. Cantal cheese has been produced in the same way for decades, predominantly in the department of the same name. First, the raw or pasteurized cow's milk is brought to a temperature of 32 °C / 90 °F. Then, a rennet is added to coagulate it. The resulting curd is cut into small grains and gathered into a compact mass, for the first pressing. This pressed curd is then matured for 10 to 24 hours before being ground and salted to soften the paste and enhance it further. Finally, it is packed into a mold, pressed a second time, turned out of the mold and ripened for at least 30 days for a "Jeune", 2 to 6 months for an "Entre-deux" and over six months for a "Vieux".




"Jeune": the young cheese has a thin, white to slightly grayish rind, and an ivory to straw-yellow paste. "Entre-deux": the aged variant has a more defined, golden brown rind. "Vieux": well-aged Cantal has a brown rind and a brownish paste.


"Jeune": a firm yet supple texture, which complements the buttery flavors. "Entre-deux": a soft, creamy paste with rich notes of hazelnut, fermented cream, etc. "Vieux": a dry, almost crumbly texture and a strong character.

Nutritional benefits

Though obviously high in calories, Cantal cheese is also a very good source of calcium.

Editor's note

« Due to the climate, and the mountains which limited their movements during winter, Cantal's dairy farmers wanted a cheese that would be first and foremost, nutritious, as well as invigorating, but also suitable for bartering. Good, country sense. »

How to use

Store Cantal PDO

In the refrigerator, in parchment paper.

Prepare Cantal PDO

Like many cheeses, Cantal benefits from being taken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving, as it is best enjoyed at room temperature.

Uses Cantal PDO

Although it is mostly eaten in its natural state, it is also wonderful melted. This is why it is the cheese of choice for France's famous "Aligot" (mashed potato with cheese and garlic).

Pair with

Serve on a slice of farmhouse bread, with cured ham, in a "Cordon Bleu"-style chicken suprême or a vegetable soup, etc. And as for wine - it has to be a Marcillac red!

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