Le Brebiou is a bloomy-rinded sheep’s milk cheese produced by the French cheese company Bongrain.
The history of Bongrain dates back to 1920 in Illoud, France, when Jean- Noel Bongrain, then only 19 years of age, inherited the small family business of Fromagerie d’Illoud (as it was then called). By the early 1950’s, Bongrain began to develop the family business in a new direction, seeking to break away from the traditional French cheeses. Jean- Noel‘s vision was to produce a nationally-branded cheese, an idea that was unheard of at the time in France. He wanted to create a recipe that would not only be unique in taste but could be reproduced throughout the various regions of France.
The first cheese to be made along these lines was ‘Caprice des Dieux’, first produced in 1950. Having penetrated the French market, Bongrain then launched further afield, and by 1960 was selling cheese in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. Today, Bongrain is France’s second largest cheese and dairy producer and 5th largest in the world. The group currently operates production facilities in 24 counties all over the world including Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.
Le Brebiou has been produced since 1994, and today is sold in both full-fat and low-fat versions (the low-fat version, called “Brebiou ligne et plaisir”, contains only 10% fat). It’s produced in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region, and is aged for two weeks. Its rind often shows visible markings from the linen wrappings and bowl-shaped hoops used during production.
It’s a mild, creamy, and very rich cheese, with a smooth interior paste that becomes firmer, and a taste that becomes more tart, toward its center.
Pair it with a light red, a fruity and dry white, or a rosé.