At the recent at the Restaurant '07 in the R.H.I. my day was made by finding the perfect Washed Rind Cheese. You wont be surprised to hear that it is French (although I will point out that my current favourite hard cheese, Maasdam* is from Holland).
So the current winning cheese is called Epoisses and it is curiously dark in colour, and bold and complex in taste. Forty days old cheese has orange-brown rind and is very sticky. The aroma is both pungent and spicy aroma. The cheese is supposed to be served with a fine Burgundy or a spicy aromatic white wine - we enjoyed it with the Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay.
Luckily I was able to find some at Rozelle Fine Foods, imported by Australia On A Plate, so I could share it with my partner.
Often compared to Swiss Emmental, but much smaller in size when produced, this nutty flavored, mild cheese gets its characteristic appearance of large "eyes" (holes) and a domed top from a special bacteria which emits carbon dioxide during the maturation process. Maasdam is a perfect complement for salads and sandwiches and is ideal for melting.