Fourme d'Ambert is one of France's oldest cheeses. Made from cow's milk, its production dates from the Roman occupation of France 1,000 years ago, when it was reportedly made by mountain-dwellers in the lush, green, volcanic Auvergne region. There is also an unmistakable 9th-century image of Fourme d'Ambert carved in stone at La Chaume.
Today, production of Forme d'Ambert can be either cooperative or artisanal and the name is protected by AOC regulations that were granted in 1976. Milk for production comes from herds of cows that graze on either the lower or higher mountain pastures, depending on the time of year. Curds are packed into molds by hand and treated very gently during production in order to retain as much moisture as possible. Maturation takes a minimum of 40 days from production, but cheeses are usually aged two to three months.
Almost twice as tall as it is wide, Fourme d'Ambert is produced in a cylindrical shape.
The interior paste is cream-colored and is marked with plentiful blue veining. The texture is slightly more open and creamier than Stilton, which makes it more yielding on the tongue.
Flavors are smooth, forward and very balanced. There are distinct notes of butter and cream that complement the spicy blue mold.
Fourme d'Ambert is a very wine-friendly cheese. It goes well with Sauternes and other dessert wines, but also some full bodied reds such as Rhones, pinot noirs and syrahs. A little drizzle of honey is also a great addition.