Created by French cheesemaker, Patrick Beaumont in 1990, Fumaison is a smoked raw Lacaune sheep’s milk cheese. It is very similar to Jesus de Lyon, a sausage from Auvergne, in both shape and flavor. The reason is that M. Beaumont uses charcuterie-making techniques to produce Fumaison. For example, it is aged by hanging it from the roof of a cave for 100 days, the same way a ham would be. The production of Fumaison begins two hours after the milk arrives at the cheese-making facility. Rennet is added for quick coagulation and once separated from the whey, the curd is placed in moulds. It is then pressed gently for 24 hours to remove much of the moisture. Next, Fumaison is brined for another full day before beginning the aging process. Once Fumaison is removed from the roof of the caves, it is smoked, creating a cheese like no other. Under a rind that has grey, red and yellow molds is a paste that smells of mushrooms, smoke and wood.
Fumaison’s flavor is complex and savory. At the beginning it tastes of smoke and woods. It then develops the flavor of Hazelnuts with a touch of sweet, and a bit of animal in the background. The texture of Fumaison is rich and firm.
Fumaison is available from June to September and is best paired with a White Graves, or a sweet Gamay wine. To balance out the smoke, serve it with fresh fruit.