Accompaniment: Slightly sweet champagne or sparkling wine
Abondance or Tomme Abondance is an artisanal French mountain cheese from Haute Savoie in the Rhone-Alpes and is made exclusively from the whole raw milk from cows of Abondance, Montbeliard and Tarine breeds. Abondance was one of the Sun King's favorite cheeses and has a recorded history of some 700 years.
The cheese is similar to Beaufort not only in appearance (its convex rind) but also in taste and smell. The taste is complex, nutty, a balance of sweetness and acidity and a lingering aftertaste. The smell is “barnyardy”.
It takes around 36 gallons of milk to make a 20 lbs cheese. The curds are poured into a wooden hoop mould lined with cheesecloth (the markings can de discerned on the cheese). The hoop is held together with a rope that goes around the middle of the hoop and is adjusted to the width of the cheese. This causes the cheese to be concave.
The maturation period is a minimum of 90 days. The cheese has been a member of the A.O.C. family since 1990. Under the rules of its AOC the cows cannot be fed silage or any other fermented fodder.
We tried this cheese with champagne in our champagne and cheese class and it was a winner with a slightly sweeter version of either champagne or sparkling wine.