Laguiole has always been a cheese that ages well, first because for a long time its production was seasonal, second because an original cooling method is used to conserve it. You can recognise a well-aged, strong-tasting Laguiole by its brown rind with orangey highlights and soft, coloured, melt-in-your-mouth and lightly-scented cheese.
Depending on ripeness, its milky flavour ranges from medium to intense, balanced by a specific character expressed in nuances varying from fresh hay to dried hazelnut, and a good persistence in the mouth backed by a typical taste based on raw milk.
How to enjoy it
Laguiole is often enjoyed at the end of a meal. It tastes even better with a local red wine, such as the well-structured AOC Marcillac, aromatic and velvety VDQS Entraygues le Fel and smooth, fruity Estaing. But it is also delightful with before-dinner drinks or in mixed salads. It is also highly sought-after for cooking.
Foodies and gourmets will love various recipes using Laguiole, including soufflés, gougères, potato pancakes and veal with Laguiole. But the most famous dish is Aubrac aligot, which uses not Laguiole but an intermediate stage in its production, fresh tome.
It easily keeps in cool, dry place in the paper the cheesemonger wrapped it in.
Health and raw-milk cheese
Contrary to popular belief, raw-milk cheeses are no less hygienic than pasteurised ones. In fact, the opposite is true: their bacteriological balance helps them defend themselves against potential pathogens, such as listeria. After ripening, they are actually safer than cheeses made from heat-treated or pasteurised milk because those processes weaken their natural defences.
Laguiole, Cantal and Salers
There are similarities between Cantal and Laguiole exist; they are related to each other. Both are pressed, uncooked cheeses moulded in respectably-sized rounds. But they're not twins. Cantal can be eaten fairly young (the AOP requires at least two months of ripening) whereas Laguiole, traditionally kept at high altitudes, which ensured its consistency in spring and summer, before the arrival of new autumn cheeses, is an aged cheese. The AOP requires at least four months of ageing. Today most of the cheese is sold between nine and 18 months.