Feet, socks, BO. We are not talking about the locker room but the aroma of some of the world's most delectable foods - gourmet cheese. One step into a fine cheese shop and it's easy to be overwhelmed with the foul fragrance. To some it's offensive and to others it's heavenly. With most foods, the sense of smell is directly related to the taste but this is not always the case with cheese. If the odor wasn't enough to keep you from sampling these culinary delights then perhaps the use of molds and bacteria in the cheese production process will. These microscopic wonders are employed to produce a desired rind color and flavor profile. For the adventurous foodie, there are many renowned cheeses considered to have an unsavory bouquet that are definitely worth a taste.

Most gourmet cheeses known to be odiferous have something in common. They fall into a category known as washed-rind cheeses. During the aging process, these cheeses are washed with a brine typically of salt water, brandy, beer or other spirits. Sounds perfectly harmless, right? Turns out this washing method allows the cheese to become hospitable to the beneficial bacterium responsible for the brightly hued rinds, robust flavor and pungent odor. A few times per week, the cheeses are bathed in these liquids until they are perfectly aged.

As we all know, the French love their cheese. No other country produces so many types. There is one cheese so putrid it was once banned from Le Metro (the Parisian subway system) - Epoisses de Bourgogne. But don't let this stop you from enjoying one of the most incredible washed-rind cheeses. With its edible rind the color of worn rust, Epoisses (as it's commonly known) has a gooey, creamy center and a distinct, pronounced flavor. Made from unpasteurized cow's milk, it is washed with a local brandy. Look for Epoisses in a small round wooden box at your local cheese shop or gourmet food store.

An equally sumptuous washed-rind cheese worthy of your attention is Taleggio. This square-shaped cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy has been crafted in the same manner for centuries. Made from cow's milk and doused with a salt-water bath, Taleggio has an edible, rose colored rind. When perfectly ripe, it is a moist, semi-soft cheese with a buttery (some say meaty) taste. And let's not forget the unforgettable odor.

With one bite of these epicurean treasures, it's easy to forget the strong smell. Simply grab a bottle of wine and a loaf of crusty bread. But to be considerate, just make sure you are not on Le Metro.

Author's Bio: 

Even though her passion for gourmet cheese was undying, Sara Kahn found shopping for it to be overwhelming, time consuming and confusing. She established The Cheese Ambassador to offer a simple way to select and serve the world’s finest cheeses. By providing the perfect combination of exquisite cheese along with a comprehensive cheese course guide, enjoying gourmet cheese is now a deliciously enriching experience.