Cantal is made from cow's milk with the curd being heated before pressing. This ancient French cheese has a smooth, grayish-brown rind with a smooth, pale yellow, close-textured interior. Cantal has a milky aroma, a nutty flavor with a hint of tangy butteriness, and a slightly acidic finish. Aged from three to nine months, it is prone to blue mold (fleur de bleu) which the French gladly eat, but can also be cut off if this is not your preference. Try Cantal in a French ploughman's platter, in soups or sauces, or to flavor muffins or gratins. But, ignore this description and take advice from a French poet: "To elaborate on Cantal is an error of taste; it is all simplicity".
Cantal is one of the oldest French Cheeses, predating both Roquefort (11th century) and Livarot (13th century). In fact, Pliny the Elder mentions Cantal in his "Historia Naturalis" written in the 1st Century AD. Cantal was originally produced by putting the curd into "le formage", a wooden cylinder, which is believed to be the origin for the French word for cheese. Named after the Cantal Mountains in Auvergne, this cheese has been dear to the French throughout history. For example, in medieval times it was the courtly custom to send a gift of cheese to impress or to people one admired.
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