Avesnes or Boulette d'Avesnes
Avesnes or Boulette d'Avesnes

Sommelier's suggestion A full-bodied red wine such as Côte de Nuits Saint-Émilion Côtes du Rhône Chateauneuf du Pape

When it comes to “stinky cheese,” boulette d’Avesnes heads the list!

This little white or red cone-shaped cheese is named after the capital of Avesnois, a tiny region in northern France.

The cheese has ancient origins. It was mentioned in the records of a local abbey about 1760. In the past, it was made exclusively from recooked buttermilk, using the whey left over from butter-making for reasons of economy. It was made into a low-fat edible curd for the family’s own consumption.

These days, boulettes and Maroilles cheese are produced in the same region. Maroilles curd may be flavored with tarragon, parsley and pepper to be transformed into boulette d’Avesnes, ripened in a damp cellar and washed with beer.

A few Avesnois farmers continue to produce boulettes for sale. The smell of the cheese can cause unsuspecting consumers to recoil… but it’s good news for lovers of strong cheese.

What is it?
A soft washed-rind cheese.

How is it made?
Boulette is made almost solely from damaged Maroilles curd that is downgraded before ripening. It is remixed and flavored.

Formed by hand, the boulettes are shaped into cones about 10 cm (4”) high, weighing 180 g (6 oz.). Most boulettes are sold fresh, to be eaten within 30 days.

They can also be put into ripening cellars where they begin to take on a reddish color under the effect of annatto, a natural food coloring.

Nutritional values per 100 g
• Calcium: 150 to 175 mg
• Calories: 260 to 350
• Carbohydrates: None
• Fat: Under 45%
• Lipids: 20-26 g
• Protein: 20-21 g

plain, at the end of a meal

In collaboration with Bernard Boittiaux, professor at Eudil in Lille
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