You may have heard about the Trappist monks of Belgium and their beer brewing. But did you know that they also make cheese?
The Scourmont Abbey (Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourmont), is a Trappist Monastery in the Scourmont Plateau, in the village of Forges which is part of Chimay in the province of Hainaut Belgium. Chimay is 1 of 7 beers that are allowed to bear the logo ‘Authentic Trappist Product”, which means it is brewed within the walls of a Trappist Monastery under the control and responsibility of the community of monks. There are 3 different varieties of Chimay beer produced, Grand Reserve (blue label), Cinq Cents (white label) and Première (red label).
Since 1876, the Cisterian monks put into their work the same care for perfection that they do into their life of prayer and study. A true art of beer brewing and cheese-making has developed over the course of time at the Scourmont Abbey in Chimay Belgium.
Chimay country was always a region where dairy cows are bred. Made from regional milk, technology has allowed the monks to modernize their operation so Chimay cheese has adapted while maintaining its authenticity.
|Board of 5 Chimay cheeses|
There are 5 varieties of Chimay cheese:
- Chimay with Beer, whose rind is soaked in Chimay beer.
- Chimay Grand Classic, a semi-hard pressed cheese.
- Chimay Grand Cru, made from pasteurised milk and matured for six weeks.
- Old Chimay, a hard cheese matured for at least six months.
- Vieux Chimay, a hard cheese matured for at least eight months
When in the Chimay area, you don’t have to look far from the Abbey to find a quaint hotel within walking distance called Auberge du Poteauprè (The Poteauprè Inn) to enjoy the accomplishments of the monks. Their on site restaurant serves everything Chimay of course, including one special brew that is only served at the restaurant, Chimay Doreè (gold). They also serve an array of dishes that feature the Chimay beers in an extensive menu that includes beer and cheese tastings. A wonderful way to experience the artisanship of cheese making.
Not only is a visit worth it for the Chimay beers, the hotel has a great restaurant serving traditional Belgian fare and some of the dishes are cooked with Chimay beer and cheeses. I’m sharing with you their recipe for quiche le Poteaupré.