Saint Paulin is a name for a type of cheese that is not a traditional French cheese, but rather that is based on “Port du Salut” style cheeses.
The name “Port Salut”, for Port du Salut style cheeses, had been trademarked way back in 1874. Commercial manufacturers created a new cheese name, Saint Paulin, around 1950. Technically, if anything, the commercially-made Port du Salut style cheeses should be called Saint Paulin, and the artisan ones produced by monasteries or small creameries called “Port du Salut”, but the two terms are used interchangeably now. The ones that still do real surface ripening are actually Port du Salut cheeses, not Saint Paulin nor Port Salut.
The cheeses are made from cow’s milk; some use pasteurized milk, some use raw milk.
The cheeses are pressed into their shape, washed in brine, then matured for about two weeks, being turned every day.
The rinds are painted with a food colouring to imitate the typical colour of Port du Salut cheeses — there is no real surface ripening happening that would colour the rind naturally. The rind is edible, but most people don’t eat it as it is just tough, leathery and dry.
A wheel of a St Paulin type cheese generally weighs about 5 pounds (2 kg.) The cheeses have a mild taste that is slightly salty, and slightly buttery.
Saint Paulin style cheeses are now made all over the world including in New Zealand and Brazil (as of 1977.)
Some sources state that the cheese “used to be produced in the St Paulin abbey by the Monks”. This is almost right; the cheese that started this style of cheeses, Port Salut, was made by monks, but in an abbey named “Notre Dame du Port-du-Salut”.