Monday, November 10, 2008
"Age is not important unless you're a cheese." -- Helen Hayes
I'm in France right now, spending time with my family. While the reason for this visit (my dad's health) is very serious, we are still in France, and so my sister, stepmother and I are indulging in a Stinky Cheese Jamboree. Both Martha and I love to wander around grocery stores when we travel, and since I can't smuggle our purchases back for blog readers, I'll give you a verbal tasting.
This subtle creamy white cheese is made of goats' milk, and has a lovely sculptural rind that reminds me of the fallen marble columns outside Classical Greek temples. It is called Tomme de Chevre, tomme being a generic word for a wheel of cheese and chevre being the word for goat.
This beautiful aged cheese is Mimolette extra-vieille. This style of cheese was created at the request of King Louis XIV, who wanted a French cheese that resembled Edam. I found this delicious cheese very complex and difficult to describe. It is somewhat chewy, and entirely unlike Cheddar, which is somewhat resembles.
Saint-Felicien moule a la louche cheese is a raw-milk (unpasteurized) cheese made of cow's milk. It is aged for between two and six weeks, and is served in a ceramic tub. Moule a a louche means "molded in a ladle." That's "molded" as in "formed," not as in "moldy." This is a particularly stinky and delicious soft cheese.
This is the most unique cheese on our cheese plate. It s called Ecorce de Sapin, and it is a soft cow's milk cheese that is aged in a wrapper of fir or spruce bark. The cheese is served inside the bark wrapper, and sits on a little wooden plate. Since you cannot cut through the tree bark with a knife, this soft cheese is served with a spoon.
Tomorrow, Anne is taking a much needed break from caring for my dad. She's going to spend a few days at the beach (that's the French Riviera, y'all) with her family. On her way out of town, she'll be dropping me and Martha at the weekly market. I wonder what goodies we'll find there?