Chaource is a cow's milk cheese, cylindrical in shape at around 10 cm in diameter and 6 cm in height, weighing either 250 or 450 g. The central pâte is soft, creamy in colour, and slightly crumbly, and is surrounded by a white penicillium candidum rind.
The cheese has been made in its namesake village since at least the Middle Ages. Cheese is still manufactured there, ranging from small cheese makers to industrial scale production further away. It is only made in a tightly controlled area in the départements of Aube and Yonne.
It was recognised as an AOC cheese in 1970, and has been fully regulated since 1977.
The AOC regulations state that:
Made using a similar recipe to that of Brie, affinage is usually between two and four weeks and the cheese is generally eaten young. The gently-salted central pâte has a light taste and a characteristic 'melt-in-the-mouth' texture. The fat content is a minimum of 50%.
Regulations currently allow both pasteurized or unpasteurized milk to be used during manufacture.