Abbaye du Mont des Cats
Abbaye du Mont des Cats is a cow's milk cheese made by monks at the monastery of the same name near Godewaersvelde (meaning God's plain) in northern France. Cheese has been made here since 1880 using milk sourced from local farms. The cheese was a traditional favorite with the crews of sailing ships. Today, although tastes and patrons have changed, this small independent dairy still produces about 200 tons of cheese each year.
Production methods for Abbaye du Mont des Cats are similar to those used for Port Salut. Milk is gently pasteurized for cheese production, and maturation takes place over a period of four to five weeks. During this time, cheeses are washed with a brine solution to encourage the growth of the Bacterium linens mold. They're also dyed with roucou, a natural red dye derived from the seeds of the annatto shrub.
The texture of Abbaye du Mont des Cats is smooth and supple, dotted with occasional small holes. The rind is an orange-red color and slightly tacky to the touch. Flavors are mild and subtle with notes of milk and hay.