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Reblochon

A top-class French semi-hard cow"s milk cheese from the mountains of the Haute-Savoie region of France - in particular the Aravis Massif centring on Thones.

The name comes from a dialect word for second milking, which refers not to the second milking of the day but to the particularly rich milk that's left in the cow towards the end of the milking. This used to be set aside by the cow herds themselves and would be left in the cow until the farm proprietor had gone home - and then made into their own cheese - Reblochon. It's now protected by the strict appellation d'origine laws

The cheese is made in pasteurised and raw milk forms from the milk of Tarentaise cattle, and is made by individual farms, fruitieres and large dairies.

It's a lightly-pressed, scalded cheese with a supple creamy 'paste' and firm pinkish-brown washed-rind. The flavour is mild, fruity and delicious - but can become bitter if kept to long; about 5 weeks ripening is ideal. Reblochon is sold between two paper-thin wooden discs.

As well as being produced for the cheese course, it makes an unusual appetiser if offered with dried fruit and nuts.

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