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The stinkiest cheese
For as much stereotype-busting as I tend to do on this site, I sometimes have to look at the facts and admit that sometimes, every once in a while, the myths have some truth to them.
As you may have read in the title, it’s true: France has produced the stinkiest variety of cheese. The long-distance gag-reflex-triggering champion. The one cheese to nauseate them all.
According to this 2004 BBC news article, scientists applied their knowledge and tools to the question of the relative smelliness of cheeses, using “an ‘electronic nose’ to analyse the cheese odours, along with a panel of 19 human testers”. Their results showed that decent, normal cheeses like English Cheddar and Parmesan were among the least odorous, while the ultimate stench title belongs to Vieux Boulogne, the soul-crushing odor of which is apparently “created by the beer reacting with enzymes in the cheese”. Yikes.
What’s horrifying is the BBC article’s note that the Vieux Boulogne actually beat another French cheese (Epoisses de Bourgogne) that smells so bad, it’s been banned from being taken on public transport in France. Can you imagine the prolonged problem that was bad enough to cause the French to enact actual legislation to put an end to it?
Case closed. The French can and do make some stinky cheeses.