Valençay is one of the classic French, mold ripened "chèvres" from the Loire Valley in France. This young goat's milk cheese is distinguished by its truncated pyramid form and its layer of ash underlying the surface's bloomy white rind.
Tradition has it that Valençay was originally shaped like the perfect pyramid, until, on his return from the disastrous campaign in Egypt, Napoleon stopped at the castle of Valençay and, seeing the cheese that reminded him of the Egyptian pyramids, sliced off the top with his sword in a rage.
Production of Valençay involves the drained curd being placed in a mold before being removed and coated with salted charcoal ashes (medicinal charcoal). Cheeses are then placed in a chilled drying roomroom at 80% humidity to encourage the growth of the white penicillium candidum mold.
The texture of Valençay is smooth and dense with a mild, lemony, and altogether clean, bright flavor. It pairs very well with crisp, dry white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc.