Sechon de Pays: Intense & Full of Flavor
October 1, 2010
Sechon de Pays is an intense cheese that is simply delicious. It is a surprising cheese: it has a deceptively small size yet packs a meaty mouthful in each sliver. This is an amazing cheese that demands a slow, lingering eat.
Sechon de Pays is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It is produced in the Rhone Alps area of France and carries a label from the affineur Herve Mons. This cheese arrives to market in a small puck-shaped format. It is about the same size as a small chevre disc.
This cheese looks as if it is breeding mold. It has a natural dry rind that is covered with white, gray-blue and forest green surface molds. These surface molds will latch to your fingers and migrate to the paste if the cheese is handled. Sechon de Pays is semi-firm to the touch. The interior paste is a rich buttery yellow and leaves a slight greasy residue on the finger.
Sechon de Pays smells like Roquefort, most likely due to the surface molds on the rind. The interior paste has a rich, buttery aroma.
Its flavors are intensely nutty, balanced by light smoky and sour flavors. The rind adds a peppery flavor that softens the intensity of the paste’s nutty flavor and cuts through its meatiness. Sechon de Pays’ flavors coat the tongue and leave a smoky sour after-taste.
Sechon de Pays was a huge hit with the adult tasters, but it won over just one juvenile taster. The other juvenile taster rejected this cheese and returned his tasting sample to the plate for the others to battle over.
I would not hesitate to purchase Sechons de Pays again. Matt laughed at its diminutive size when I presented the cheese plate for photography, but he changed his mind during the tasting. Sechon de Pays is not delicate and would travel well to an outdoor picnic or meal. It has such an interesting appearance that it is likely to spark conversation at a dinner or small gathering.
Notes on purchasing: We purchased our sample at Whole Foods (Potrero Hill, San Francisco); thank you to the cheesemonger who raved about Sechon de Pays and convinced me to try it. This very small cheese could be divided into 4-6 servings (a small sample of this cheese is enough).