Skip to Content

What type of cheese is Montrachet?

Montrachet is a type of soft, white cheese made from cow’s milk. It originates from the Burgundy region of France and gets its name from the village of Montrachet. Montrachet has a creamy, soft texture and a tangy, salty flavor that is often described as nutty or mushroom-like.

What is Montrachet cheese?

Montrachet belongs to the family of French soft-ripened cheeses. It is made from cow’s milk and has a bloomy rind, which refers to the downy white edible mold that grows on the outside. This mold imparts much of the cheese’s distinctive flavor.

The interior paste of Montrachet is smooth and creamy. When perfectly ripe, it should ooze thickly when cut. The taste is rich and savory, with earthy and mushroom notes that develop as the cheese ages. Montrachet has about 45% milk fat, classifying it as a double or triple cream cheese.

How is Montrachet cheese made?

Traditional Montrachet is made using raw or thermised cow’s milk, meaning the milk is heated to destroy pathogens but remains unpasteurized. Here is the basic process for making Montrachet cheese:

  • The milk is curdled by adding rennet, an enzyme that causes the milk to coagulate or form curds.
  • The curd is cut into small cubes and allowed to drain in cheesecloth to remove moisture.
  • The curd cubes are placed in molds, pressed, and drained further to form wheels.
  • Young cheeses are sprayed or inoculated with Penicillium candidum mold spores on the rind.
  • Wheels are aged for 2-4 weeks in temperature and humidity controlled cellars to develop the rind and ripening interior.

The affinage or aging process is key for soft ripened cheeses like Montrachet. As it ages, enzymes from the rind mold interact with proteins and fats in the cheese paste to create the signature creamy texture and rich, earthy flavors. The rind remains edible and is a coveted part of the cheese.

Where does Montrachet cheese come from?

As mentioned, Montrachet originates from the village of Montrachet in the Burgundy or Bourgogne region of France. It is part of the area known as the Côte d’Or or “Golden Slope”, which is acclaimed for its vineyards and wines.

Montrachet cheese was first created in the 19th century by local monks in the area. It was initially made from goat’s milk but eventually cow’s milk versions became more common. By the 20th century, Montrachet production had spread to farms and creameries throughout France.

Today, authentic Montrachet is still made on small dairy farms in Burgundy as well as other parts of France. It carries the AOC label, meaning it is produced according to strict standards in the Burgundy region. However, mass-produced Montrachet-style cheeses are also made worldwide.

What does Montrachet cheese taste like?

When perfectly ripe, Montrachet has a lush, creamy texture reminiscent of butter or clotted cream. The interior paste is smooth and oozes richly when cut.

The flavor is refined yet robust. Notes of toasted nuts, mushrooms, grass, and earth are detectable. The rind contributes nuances of garlic, cider, and cider-like acids. The overall taste is tangy and savory with a long, pleasing finish.

Well-aged Montrachet has a more pronounced nuttiness and browned butter taste. Young Montrachet is milder with a fresher, milkier flavor. In general, Montrachet cheese should smell earthy with hints of truffles and have a polished, velvety mouthfeel.

What is the flavor and texture of Montrachet?

Montrachet has a smooth, creamy texture and rich, savory taste. When perfectly ripe, the texture is velvety and thick with an oozing interior paste. The flavor is nutty and earthy with notes of mushroom, garlic, and grass. Well-aged Montrachet develops more browned butter and toasted nut flavors. The rind contributes tangy, cider-like notes. The cheese has a refined mouthfeel and long, satisfying finish.

What kind of milk is used to make Montrachet?

Authentic Montrachet is made from raw or thermised cow’s milk, meaning the milk is gently heated to destroy pathogens but remains unpasteurized. Using raw milk allows the natural milk microflora to contribute to the cheese’s flavor development.

Past versions of Montrachet were made from goat’s milk. But today, cow’s milk from grass-fed cows in Burgundy is considered ideal for making traditional Montrachet. The high-quality milk with a rich, buttery fat content contributes to the cheese’s character.

What is the aging process for Montrachet cheese?

Proper aging or affinage is crucial for developing Montrachet’s prized texture and earthy, mushroom notes. Here is how Montrachet is aged:

– Young Montrachet wheels are ripened for 2-4 weeks in temperature and humidity controlled cellars. The cellars recreate the climate of the Burgundy region.

– The wheels are sprayed or inoculated with P. candidum mold early in the aging process. This bloomy rind mold helps ripen the cheese from the outside in.

– Enzymes from the mold interact with the cheese curds to soften the interior paste and develop earthy aromas. The rind remains edible.

– Wheels are turned and rubbed daily to evenly distribute the mold growth.

– Montrachet is usually aged a minimum of 4 weeks for adequate ripening. Longer aging like 8-10 weeks results in stronger flavors.

– The ripening period allows signature creamy texture and nutty, mushroom notes to develop in the paste.

What is the shelf life of Montrachet?

The shelf life of Montrachet depends on several factors:

– State of Ripeness: Fresher Montrachet will last longer, about 3-4 weeks refrigerated. Well-ripened or aged Montrachet has a shorter shelf life of 1-2 weeks.

– Storage Method: Montrachet should be stored refrigerated, wrapped in waxed or parchment paper, inside its original box. Plastic wrap should be avoided as it traps moisture. Proper storage preserves freshness.

– Rind Condition: If any mold growth is excessive or begins turning gray or pink, the cheese should be consumed soon. This is a sign the cheese is overripe.

– Cut vs. Uncut: An uncut wheel of Montrachet has a longer shelf life than pre-cut wedges, which expose more surface area to oxygen.

– Best By Date: This date on the packaging indicates peak freshness but the cheese may remain good for several weeks after.

In general, consume fresh Montrachet within 1- 4 weeks of purchase for best flavor and texture. Well stored, uncut wheels can potentially last longer within the best by timeframe.

How should you store Montrachet cheese?

To extend the shelf life of Montrachet cheese, follow these storage guidelines:

– Keep refrigerated at 35°F to 40°F (2°C to 4°C) at all times for food safety.

– Wrap cut wedges in waxed or parchment paper to protect from drying out. Avoid plastic wrap or airtight containers which can cause moisture build-up.

– Place the wrapped cheese in a loose plastic bag or original box inside the fridge. This prevents drying as well as odor absorption.

– Ensure the cheese has enough airflow and is not overly enclosed.

– Use within 1-4 weeks for maximum freshness, less if cheese is already well-ripened.

– Monitor for mold growth – some white surface mold is normal but gray, pink or excessive mold indicates the cheese should be consumed soon.

– Allow refrigerated cheese to come to room temperature before serving to bring out the full flavor and texture.

Can you freeze Montrachet cheese?

Montrachet cheese can be frozen, but its soft texture may change after thawing. Here are some tips for freezing Montrachet:

– Cut the cheese into portions before freezing. Freezing a whole wheel is not recommended.

– Wrap the portions very tightly in plastic wrap, then foil or freezer-safe wrapping. This prevents freezer burn.

– Place wrapped portions in freezer bags or airtight containers. Remove as much air as possible.

– Label the cheese with the name and freeze date.

– Freeze at 0°F (-18°C) or below for 3-6 months. Montrachet can keep longer but quality declines over time.

– Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before use. The texture may be more crumbly after thawing. Use for cooking instead of eating raw.

– Consume thawed Montrachet within a few days. Do not refreeze after thawing.

– For best results, enjoy Montrachet fresh instead of freezing when possible. The frozen product will not have the same creamy, smooth texture.

What are some good Montrachet cheese substitutes?

Some good substitutes for Montrachet cheese include:

– Brie – Classic soft-ripened French cheese with a similar bloomy rind and creamy interior. Milder in flavor.

– Camembert – Another famous French cheese with a surface mold rind. Creamy with tangy notes.

– Brillat-Savarin – Rich, buttery triple cream cheese from Normandy, France.

– Saint Andre – Smooth, decadent French triple cream, less earthy than Montrachet.

– Explorateur – French triple-cream with bold mushroom flavors like Montrachet.

– Delice de Bourgogne – From Burgundy, drier but has earthy tastes.

– Fromage D’Affinois – French double cream, less pungent than Montrachet.

– Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam – American triple-cream with a bloomy rind, floral and grassy.

– Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog – American goat cheese with edible ash center stripe.

– Vermont Creamery Bonne Bouche – American ash-ripened goat cheese, creamy.

The buttery richness of triple creams most closely mimics Montrachet’s luxurious texture. While the flavors will differ, these soft cheeses can fill in for cooking applications or cheese boards. Always check labels for similar milk and fat content.

What are some recommended wine pairings for Montrachet cheese?

Montrachet has robust, earthy flavors that pair wonderfully with wines, especially those from Burgundy. Here are some excellent wine pairings:

– Chardonnay – A rich, oaked white Burgundy is a classic pairing. The wine’s butteriness matches the cheese.

– White Burgundy – Dry, mineral-driven wines like Puligny-Montrachet complement the cheese.

– Champagne – Bubbles and biscuit notes cleanse the palate between bites. Blanc de blancs Champagne works well.

– Sauvignon Blanc – Go for an unoaked, vibrant Sancerre to contrast the cheese.

– Chenin Blanc – The zesty acidity balances the cheese’s richness. Try Vouvray.

– Pinot Noir – Red Burgundy has perfect synergy with Montrachet. The tannins cut the fattiness.

– Beaujolais – For a lighter red, the fruitiness offsets the cheese.

– Rosé – A food-friendly rosé from Provence has a refreshing finish.

When in doubt, a quality white or red Burgundy is always an excellent pairing for Montrachet, given it hails from the same terroir.

What dishes pair well with Montrachet cheese?

The rich, earthy taste of Montrachet cheese pairs wonderfully with many dishes. Here are some excellent food pairings:

– Cheese Board – With dried fruits, nuts, chutneys, crackers or baguette.

– Omelets or Frittatas – Fold Montrachet into egg dishes.

– Soups – A melted wedge of Montrachet elevates potato, mushroom or onion soups.

– Pasta – Toss with fresh pappardelle or ravioli.

– Risotto or Polenta – Mix in for creaminess.

– Vegetables – Serve on roasted beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower.

– Sandwiches – Ideal melted on a croque monsieur or with Brie and fig jam.

– Salad – Crumble over mixed greens with pear or walnuts.

– Flaky Pastry – Bake in puff pastry as brie en croute.

– Cheese Fondue – For an earthy twist on classic fondue.

– Charcuterie or Pâté Board – With cured meats, pâté, mustards and pickles.

Montrachet’s indulgent texture and nuanced flavor complement both simple and gourmet dishes. It pairs especially well with mushrooms, cream sauces, onions, and earthy vegetables.


Montrachet is a distinguished French cheese hailing from the villages of Burgundy. It is a soft-ripened, double or triple cream cow’s milk cheese enveloped in a signature white, bloomy rind. When ripe, Montrachet has a creamy, thick texture and an aroma reminiscent of the cellar caves of France. The flavor profile reveals notes of mushroom, nut, and earth with a tangy cider edge from the rind. Both the paste and rind are edible in whole. Authentic Montrachet is made from raw milk and aged a minimum of 4 weeks to achieve its characteristic smoothness and sublime taste. This cheese pairs excellently with white Burgundies, bold reds, and dishes with complementary earthiness. While traditional Montrachet can only come from France, there are many quality substitutes available internationally. This coeur de Bourgogne or “heart of Burgundy” remains a coveted treasure for cheese connoisseurs worldwide.