Banon a la Feuille

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The village of Banon, located between Mont Ventoux and the mountain of Lure, is famous for its cheese, known as "Banon a la Feuille." This unique cheese has a long history, with its origins dating back to the Roman empire. Legend has it that the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius enjoyed this cheese so much that it led to his untimely demise. Throughout the Middle Ages, Banon cheese was presented in the form of a "prise" and was covered with vine leaves. However, when the vines were afflicted with the phylloxera disease, brown leaves were used instead, which not only gave the cheese its distinct flavor but also helped protect it from insects. Eventually, chestnut leaves became the preferred choice for wrapping Banon cheese, a tradition that continues to this day.

The Making of Banon Cheese

Banon cheese is exclusively made from Provençal, Cordé, or Alpine milk. The cheese is always wrapped in brown chestnut leaves, which are folded and secured with natural raffia string. These leaves not only provide a unique aesthetic appeal but also contribute to the cheese's flavor and preservation. Underneath the leaves, the cheese is covered with a creamy, bloomy rind, which may develop blue spots over time. The white, creamy paste of Banon cheese offers a homogeneous texture and delicate lactic aromas. When properly aged, it should have a mild and smooth flavor, with hints of the surrounding forest.

The Unique Character of Banon Cheese

What sets Banon cheese apart from other varieties is the marriage of flavors between the brown chestnut leaves and the subtle goat notes. The tannins from the leaves and the delicate goat flavor create a harmonious combination that ultimately results in the cheese's unique character. Its closest relatives in the cheese world are the Pellardon from Languedoc-Roussillon and the Picodon from the Rhône-Alpes region. Banon cheese received its Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status in 2003 and is protected as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) at the European level since June 12, 2007.

Pairing and Serving Banon Cheese

To fully enjoy the flavors of Banon cheese, it is best paired with a fruit bread and pear slices. The cheese should be consumed within a few days while still enclosed in its chestnut leaves, making sure to store it in the refrigerator. Prior to indulging in its creamy and mild core, allow the cheese to sit at room temperature for at least half an hour. For those who prefer stronger cheese flavors, Banon can also be enjoyed when dry, as aging does not significantly increase its intensity. As a traditional Provençal cheese, Banon pairs exceptionally well with a range of southern wines. When served with its delicate heart, opt for a white Côtes-de-Provence wine. If the cheese has been allowed to dry further, it pairs nicely with a red Coteaux-d'Aix-en-Provence or a white Saint-Joseph wine.


Banon cheese, with its rich history and distinct character, is truly a treasure of the cheese world. Its traditional production methods, including the use of chestnut leaves, contribute to its unique flavor and preservation. Whether enjoyed with a mild and creamy core or when dry, Banon cheese promises a delightful culinary experience for cheese lovers. From its origins in Banon to its prestigious AOC and PDO statuses, this cheese holds a special place in the hearts of cheese connoisseurs worldwide.

✓ France