What Is Boursin Cheese?

By Christie Leman

Boursin has been a cheese lovers' favorite for decades because of its smooth, creamy texture and flavor. It's ideal for spreading on crackers or toast slices. Here's the full story behind Boursin cheese, including its rich history, flavor options and its versatility in many types of dishes.

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History of Boursin

Like many of the world's favorite cheeses, Boursin hails from France. While it's now enjoyed in more than 30 countries, it's still most popular in its birth nation. Boursin cheese was first created by Francois Boursin in 1957 in Normandy. The inspiration was a traditional French dish of plain fresh cheese served with chopped herbs that guests could mix in as they pleased.

Boursin Features

Boursin is a cow's milk cheese, off-white or yellowish in color, with a soft, creamy texture. The original was buttery and sweet, but it's now produced in several different savory flavors meant to add to, but not detract from, the cheese's natural taste.

Boursin cheese is formed into cylindrical shapes and wrapped in foil. It should carry a label that says "All natural Gournay cheese." Many consumers are confused by the distinction between Boursin and Gournay. Gournay was simply the name Francois Boursin gave his new cheese when asked to declare its origin to customs officials. If a package of Boursin does not include the Gournay distinction, then it's not true Boursin.

Types of Boursin

Today, Boursin cheese is available in five flavors: Garlic & Fine Herbs, Pepper, Shallot & Chive, Light Garlic & Fine Herbs and Garlic & Roasted Red Pepper. The original Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs is made simply from milk, cream, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and chives, and it's still the most popular of the Boursin flavors.

Serving Boursin

Boursin cheese makes a wonderful hors d'oeuvre or just a simple snack. After purchasing, the cheese should be stored in a temperature-stabilized drawer in the refrigerator and always wrapped in its original foil packaging after each use. While Boursin can be added to many recipes, if you choose to serve it as an hors d'oeuvre, first bring it to room temperature out of the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Cut it into wedges like a pie to serve.

Availability

Boursin is considered a specialty cheese. While it might be hard to find at some grocery stores, it's usually available at any supermarket or gourmet store with a specialty cheese counter. The official Boursin website offers a store locator based on zip code to help you find a Boursin retailer near you.