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Jacquin Valencay (cheese)

Created in honor of Napoleon’s return from Egypt, Valency was originally shaped like a perfect pyramid. The story goes that upon his return from the campaign in Egypt, Napoleon visited the castle of Valencay. Seeing the cheese reminded him of the Egyptian pyramids and immediately drew his sword and chopped off the top. Valencay has a natural beige rind which is coated with wood ashes on which white spotting develops. When young, the white cheese can be seen through the ash. Gradually the colors merge and blue-gray moulds appear. The commercially produced version is known as Pyramide. The paste is smooth and white and fairly moist when it is young, hardening to a shredding consistency when aged. It has a nutty flavor with a very mild with a sharp lemony tang on the finish. Older cheeses (produced in the summer and fall) strengthen in flavor. The taste is at first fresh and citrus-like, but age gives the cheese a nuttier flavor and a distinctly goaty character. Valencay is mild but with a pronounced goat’s milk aroma.

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