Boursin is the brand name a soft, spreadable cow's milk cheese originally from Normandy France.
Boursin was originally made by a man named François Boursin from the town of Gournay in Normandy, in 1957. It was inspired the local practice of mixing soft cheeses with herbs. It was the first cheese in France to be featured in a t.v. ad campaign, becoming famous with its slogan: "du pain, du vin, du Boursin" (some bread, some wine, some Boursin). The cheese has enjoyed AOC status since 1963. It currently is distributed in 35 countries.
Though originally a French cheese, it is now made in several places. Boursin cheese marketed in the United States, for example, is made in the U.S., not in France.
The cheese is soft, spreadable, and has no rind. The cheese is usually off-white or pale yellow. It comes in small cylinders wrapped in foil. The cheese is rich, sweet, and slightly acidic. Boursin is a fresh cheese, being aged about 10 days before it is ready for a market. The cheese is usually eaten on bread or crackers.
There are several varieties of Boursin. The most popular is probably Garlic and Fine Herbs, but you can also find Pepper, Fig and Nut, Shallot and Chive, Dried Tomato and Mediterranean Herbs, and other flavors. There is also a Chevre (goat cheese) version. Not all versions are available in all countries.
What is Gournay cheese?
Boxes of Boursin call it Gournay Cheese. It was called Gournay Cheese by its creator, François Boursin, when he needed a description of the cheese for customs. The labeling would lead one to believe that Boursin is the brand name and Gournay is the generic name (just like Tillamook is a brand name and Cheddar is a generic name), however, we've yet to see any other brand of Gournay cheese.
Where to buy
Boursin is not too hard to find in high-end grocery stores. If you are having trouble finding it in the United States, there is a store locator on the official website for Boursin Cheese in America.
You can also find Boursin online at amazon.com.
Boursin is a little expensive for some people. You can find several recipes online for "homemade Boursin". Most of these recipes use Cream Cheese as the main ingredient. We haven't tried any of these recipes, but we hardly think that you'd get the same thing as Boursin by using Cream Cheese, since the texture of the two cheeses are different. Boursin is less dense. (Those recipes still may be yummy, though.)