The mountains of the Savoie region are home to Reblochon, the famous French washed rind cheese.
The name “Reblochon” comes from the French verb “reblocher”, which we have no English equivalent for, but roughly translates to: “The act of pinching a cow’s udders.”
In the Middle-Ages, farmers in the mountains of Haute Savoie used to pay their taxes with part of their milk production. In order to bring their production levels down, the farmers wouldn’t fully milk their cows. Once the tax officers came to measure the milk produced and left, the farmers went back to milk the cows again. In between milkings, the milk would culture, making it much richer and giving it more depth of flavor.
Today Reblochon is still made using partially cultured milk, but no longer as a means of tax evasion.
Credit for this piece of cheesy tax avoidance history goes to Great Ciao a Minnesota based provider of artisan produced cheese