The original washed rind cheeses were made by monks in Northern France and derive their name from the process of regularly washing the cheese in brine (salt and water mix), wine, beer or other bacteria producing agents.
It’s this washing process that makes the surface of the cheese responsive to accepting the bacteria known as Brevibacterium linens. Over time, the rind will become a sticky orange colour that darkens as the cheese ages.
Washed rind cheeses can be soft, semi-hard or hard and should have a sweet, earthy taste with a hint of nuttiness.
However, be careful that the cheese doesn’t over ripen and become ammoniated, that is to say, it strongly smells or tastes of ammonia.