Produced in Ile de France, in northern France, Fougerus is a mold ripened cow's milk cheese named for the dried fern that graces its surface.
The creation of Fougerus came about more by chance than design. Robert Rouzaire (who also invented Pierre Robert and Jean Grogne), was trying to perfect a new cheese, and,
frustrated with a persistent flaw on the white, flossy rind, placed a dried fern on top to hide the blemish. The word for fern or bracken in French is "fougere."
Rouzaire is the sole producer of Fougerus. Milk is sourced from 20 local farms located in the Seine-et-Marne region south of Paris.
Production is similar to Coulommiers. After pasteurization and coagulation the curd is gently hand-ladled into the molds to drain, thereby helping to retain as much moisture as possible. After being unmolded, the young cheeses are inoculated with the culture Penicillium candidum that gives the cheese its white, bloomy rind.
Cheeses are dried for a few days before being transferred to maturing rooms, where they spend the next three or four weeks. The purely decorative fern fronds that are placed on each cheese just prior to its release are gathered from the Loire Valley.
Fougerus has a slight aroma of cellar and mushrooms. The exterior rind is white and bloomy, and the mold should not have grown over the fern too much.
The interior paste is a beautiful, straw-colored yellow and has occasional holes, or "eyes." When ripe, the interior will be runny and smooth.
In terms of flavor, Fougerus is balanced, with a buttery and creamy mouthfeel. There are distinct flavors of earth, mushrooms and nuts, complemented by savory vegetal notes.
Fougerus pairs well with Champagne or Prosecco.