Learn About Pouligny St Pierre Cheese
The Pouligny St Pierre is an unpasteurized, natural-rind cheese made from goats milk. It has an elongated pyramid shape, with a soft, wrinkled, ivory-colored, natural rind. As the rind dries out in aging, the wrinkles deepen, and gray, white and blue moulds gather. The cheese takes its name from a local village. The rind is soft and ivory-colored when the cheese is young. As it ages and dries, the rind becomes reddish-orange, providing a magnificent contrast to the firm, pure white, and slightly brittle interior.
The traditional French version has very thin rind. It does not have these same mold growth as brie/camembert but a light coat of Geotrichum with some spotting of Penicillium (traditionally P.album) and in later weeks it may develop random blue spotting. The rind should not be snow white and no paste transformation under the rind like Brie/Camembert. They should become dry, brittle and flaky. The final cheese becomes very dense in texture and flavor.
The Pouligny St Pierre is said to have started out looking more like real pyramids at one time but now they all seem to have a little bit missing off their tops.
The story of the missing top is that Napoleon saw to this minor redesign following his less than successful campaign in Egypt. Following a dinner with Tallyrand and the presentation of the cheese, it was said to be too much of a painful reminder of his Egypt failure, and out comes his sword and off goes their heads. I am sure a goodly amount of wine preceded the show though. The cheese remains this way today.
However, as much as I love a good story, the practical side of me says that no one was going to try to balance the cheese forms on that little point for draining in the first place.
I know I will probably get questions about the pyramid form but the best I can find is that folks say it represents the top of the church roof in the village of the same name. Others of a more practical nature say that it is just a good shape for draining well in the molds. So just pick one because I really do not know.