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Friday, August 24, 2012

Ami Du Chambertin; the Cheese from Burgundy.

Behind the French Menu
by
Bryan G. Newman
Updated August 2017

L'Ami Du Chambertin.
Photograph courtesy of Fromagerie Gaugry

The Ami du Chambertin is a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese with a strong but pleasing taste; it is 45% fat, and made with unpasteurized milk. The pate is ivory colored, and the rind is a pale fawn to light brown. The cheese is aged for nearly two months before sale and while aging is washed in Marc de Bourgogne, a 40% alcohol eau-de-vie.  N.B. Marcs are eau de vies, brandies, made in a similar manner to the Italian Grappas. The Marc de Bourgogne may also be on your restaurant’s list of digestifs.

Ami Du Chambertin was named in honor of that full-bodied red Burgundy wine Gevrey-Chambertin AOP. The cheese's name translates into English as the Friend of Chambertin and comes, like the wine from the Bourgogne, Burgundy.  (From 1-1-2016  Burgundy became part of the new super region of Bourgogne – Franche-Comte).
  
Gevrey-Chambertin, the wine that gave the cheese its name.
Photograph courtesy of httpwww.kvins.com.
 
In the timelines used for French cheeses, Ami Du Chambertin is a new cheese, just sixty-years old. In the 1950’s Raymond Gaugry, a cheese merchant realized the tremendous potential of a new cheese for the Bourgogne, Burgundy.  The area was famous for its wines but had few famous cheeses. Today his creation may still not have the cachet of an AOP cheese, but it is very well-known and outsells quite a number of France’s more famous AOP cow's milk cheeses. Raymond Gaugry’s children continue running the dairy he founded and now also produce most of the other well-known Burgundy cheeses.
 
Ami du Chambertin on French menus :
 
Burger de Bœuf Charolais, Ami du Chambertin, Lard et Graines de Moutarde –A cheese and bacon burger of Charolais beef seasoned with mustard seeds.
 
Ecume d’Ami du Chambertin et Mouillettes au Pain d’Épices  - A light moose of Ami du Chambertin cheese, served with thin slices of gingerbread.
  
Entrecôte de Bœuf Charolais Sauce à l'Ami du Chambertin – An entrecôte, a rib-eye steak from France’s AOP Charolais beef cattle prepared with an Ami du Chambertin sauce.

Œufs Pochés à l'Ami du Chambertin - Poached eggs prepared with Ami du Chambertin.

Parmentier d'Agneau Gratiné Avec l'Ami du Chambertin - A mashed potato and minced lamb dish, upon whose recipe England’s shepherd’s pie was made; here it is browned under the grill with added Ami du Chambertin cheese.

Many of France’s potato dishes are named after Antoine-Augustin Parmentier. Parmentier was a trained pharmacist who devoted his life to foods and popularized potatoes in France in the middle of the 18th century. At that time many French citizens thought potatoes were poisonous but Parmentier persevered and saved many of the poorest peasants from starvation in the process. See the link to:  The French connection and the English kitchen.


For more about dining in Burgundy see the post:

Discovering L’Ami du Chambertin
 
I discovered Ami Du Chambertin cheese not long after I had been introduced to the Gevrey-Chambertin wine.  Then, for a period of two or three months, I would order the Gevrey-Chambertin wine whenever the opportunity arose.  At dinner, while ordering this wine, a French colleague asked if I liked the cheese that had been named in its honor: Ami Du Chambertin. A few days later I bought the cheese.   Since then Ami Du Chambertin is on my list of cheeses to take home from France.           

Fromagerie Gaugry – The Gaugry dairy.
 
Raymond Gaugry succeeded with his dream of creating a new cheese for Burgundy, and Ami du Chambertin is now sold all over France. The Gaugry family still own and run the dairy by that name. The dairy is about 10 km (6 miles) from the village of Gevrey-Chambertin in a village called Brochon.  Visitors may watch the whole production process without charge.
 
Watching the cheese production
 
The dairy is open, every day of the week except Sunday. Still, be careful, while it is open daily from 09:00 to 18:30 the visitors’ section closes for lunch from 12:00- 14:00!  Closing for lunch is a time honored tradition in France and small shops, offices and even some Tourist Information Offices close for lunch!   Gaugry's closing times may change so see the Gaugry dairy’s English language website:

                      



Cheeses produced by the Fromagerie Gaugry.
Photograph courtesy of Fromagerie Gaugry
          
 If you are in or near the city of Dijon or close to the village of Gevrey-Chambertin consider visiting the dairy in the village of Brochon.  The dairy is just a 15-minute drive from Dijon and 10 minutes from the village of Gevrey-Chambertin.  From Dijon including traveling time one and a half to two hours is enough to see the dairy in production and return home.  If you visit the dairy, you may also taste their cheeses, and for a small contribution to the local economy buy some. Apart from Ami Du Chambertin, the dairy produces nine other cheeses:   You may join guided tours via their website and also enjoy special evening cheese centric dinners.



Map from Dijon to Brochon and Gevrey Chambertin
Copyright Google

The cheeses produced in the Gaugry dairy:

Ami du Chambertin
Brillat- Savarin (The Cheese named after France’s first philosopher of food).
Brochonnais
Cendre De Vergy
Palet De Bourgogne
Petit Gaugry
Plaisir au Chablis ( Like the Ami du Chambertin this cheese is named after a wiine, Chablis).
Soumaintrain IGP
    

Plaisir au Chablis
Photograph courtesy of  Fromagerie Gaugry.
  
Burgundy is more famous for its wines than its cheeses, but there are over fifty other cheeses made in Burgundy, and four of those cheeses have AOP  status:

Mâconnais, AOP;

For more about buying cheese in France
and taking it home click here.


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Bryan G. Newman
 
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