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New accidental French invention: the lockdown cheese

How one farmer’s forgotten cheese turned into a new lockdown treat.

A farmer accidentally invented a new cheese – with a flavour between that of Munster and Camembert – after leaving it mouldering in his cellar during the lockdown.

Lionel Vaxelaire, who farms with wife Laura at Saulxures-sur-Mosel­otte in Vosges, usually turns their milk into Munster to sell locally. With markets closed due to lockdown, they had to work differently and about 60 cheeses were left at the back of the cave.

Without the usual daily wash with salt water to make Munster, the cheese lay forgotten for four weeks until Lionel found it again. Intrigued by its dark-stained white crust, he tasted it, to find it had developed a flavour “a little like our Munster and the little white Camembert-style cheese we make”.

Discover the rich history of wine and cheese in France

Lionel said it was chalky in the centre, more refined towards the crust like Munster, and had “taken the flora from the raw milk and the flora from the cave to give a taste we have never had before”. Laura said that as the cheese had spent its four-week confinement in the cave, the name of Le Confiné came naturally.

Now the couple have it on sale in their farm shop and in the local market – and have left a fresh batch of 50 cheeses to mature by themselves in the cellar for another four weeks.

Too much fruit and veg in your garden? You can sell it here

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