Livarot is a French cheese of the Normandy region, originating in the commune of Livarot, and protected by an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) since 1975.
It is a soft, pungent, washed rind cheese made from cow's milk. It is both beloved and reviled for its earthy aroma, which has been described by some as reminiscent of feces or "barnyard". The normal weight for a round of Livarot is 450 g, though it also comes in other weights.
It is sold in cylindrical form with the orangish rind wrapped in 3 to 5 rings of dried reedmace (Typha latifolia). For this reason, it has been referred to as 'colonel', as the rings of dried bullrush resemble the stripes on a colonel's uniform. Sometimes green paper is also used.
Its orange colour comes from different sources depending on the manufacturer, but is often annatto. The bacterium Brevibacterium linens is employed in fermentation. Production in 1998 was 1,101 tons, down 12.2% since 1996. Only 12% of Livarot are made from raw, unpasteurized milk. Its period of optimal tasting is spread out from May to September after a refining from 6 to 8 weeks, but it is also excellent from March to December.