Vacherin d'Abondance is a creamy cheese with a pinkish crust and an almost sweet taste. It is made in France, in the village of Abondance, in the Abondance valley close to the Swiss border.
It's made in the winter from unpasteurised milk from the breed of cows known as Abondance.
Rennet is added to milk fresh from the cows; the milk is not heated at all, but allowed to sit and coagulate for 90 minutes. Then the curd is ladled into a 10 inch (25 cm) wide round mould lined with linen.
The cheese is let stand for a day to drain, then turned out of the mould. The cheese's circumference is then encased with a strip of bleached, sanitized spruce.
The cheese is next moved into a cellar and put on wooden shelves to age for 20 days, during which time it's turned and washed every day.
[Ed: This cheese may be extinct as of 2005.]
In 1992, new EU hygiene directives decreed that production of cheeses had to happen in a "proper" dairy. When directives came into force in 1995 the small producers said the new requirements would put them out of business. A clarification of the directive, however, showed that traditional, raw-milk cheeses made by small producers were in fact exempt.
Literature & Lore
"Mrs Gagneux, who was taught to make Vacherin d'Abondance by her mother-in-law 50 years ago, is resigned to taking its secrets to her grave. 'My daughters don't want to do this because the work it (sic) too hard. After me there won't be any more.' " 
 Lichfield, John. The death of a cheesy tradition. London: The Independent. 1 August 2005.
 Willsher, Kim. EU hygiene regulations threaten traditional French cheeses. London: Daily Telegraph. 10 July 2005.
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