Come at me many cheeses!

One thought I had today when I was reading about politics on reddit is how absolutely pointless it is to have a cheese blog.

Regardless, I continue because cheese is varied and something that can be explored. I think you can find a story behind every cheese and then make a story about every cheese you eat. Sooo so so many chee sez from France that come from little villages that would otherwise be unknown. With their one little delicious cheese that is known throughout France, we have cultural growth (literally and cheese-ily) and one more cheese to try everyday.

One thang that has my attention is the changing preferences of my palate. Before I came to France I was a soft cheese groupie to the end. I looked down on hard cheeses with some mega disdain, I think because in the states we only really do hard cheeses – hard mozzarella, cheddar, swiss, pepper jack, havarti (kinda hard), parmesan (shredded or block), and all sorts of flavor variants in between. Then we get to chèvre and brie and for most people thats as exotic as things can get unless they live near a farm that happens to be producing a product that has yet to get a firm grasp on the American market (due to both pasteurizing laws and local tastes). Aka it is harder (not that hard) to get good, diverse artisan cheeses except the ones that are popping up that happen to be raw-milk cheese which is such a treat. Anyway so until a couple weeks ago it was like gimme dat soft cheese but MEOW I’m all about dat gruyere (which happens to be the same thing as emmental just made in france! Gruyere is swiss! Gruyere is swiss cheese! ahhhh!), comté, étorki, some cheese from holland.. They seem tho much more predictable and consistent and not anything frightening that needs to be choked down omg I have turned into a cheese prude. But not really but I think my parents’ fridge imparts a certain cauliflower flavor as I have written about earlier. However udda people don’t detect this flavor and I seem to be a lone crusader in my conviction of cauliflower spoilage so the obvious conclusion is that I am undergoing a massive taste overhaul. Like I said before, one of my taste aversions was gruyere that we now know is just better swiss cheese buuuuuttttt now brett likes gruyere. What is this? More to come but at least we have several cheeses to take a look at today.

1) Maroilles                          

Maroilles is a cheese from the north of France that caught my pretty little eye because papa Daniel said that “maroilles fondu c’est le meilleur” aka melted maroilles is a delicacy and I said “well yeah I’m in france to eat delicacies.” Off I went to the fromager Beillevaire (one day I’ll take a picture of that stinky beautiful wood-lined paradise) and got my qt iddle quartier of Maroilles. You see there that it has an orange rind and seems to have a corner which is correct because Maroilles only comes in squares! It has a washed rind meaning thaaaaat someone dunked our maroilles in some solution of something and smeared it with some bacteria yummm. The rind itself is a bitty moist and way way pungent – after I picked it up, my fingers long after had a sharp dairy smell. The interior, as seen below, Imagehas some nice spotty holes and is screaming “I am creamy” and that it is. In fact, I would call it almost gelatinous (sorry maroilles…) The aroma, (sharp, lingering, pungent etc) was much wilder than the taste, which just had a hint of the bacteria growth. I was happy with it, especially when melted and spread on my baguette moulée/pita bread (what pita bread exists in france??? yeah) and I saw how someone could call it a delicacy. It reminded me of a poor man’s/rushed man’s baked brie so that’s all around a happy thing. I dont think I’ll get maroilles again because its not that fantastic (IMO) and also because there are too many cheeses to eat unless I’m like all about that life. Something that is undeniable is that maroilles is a pretty pretty cheese – striking rind, beautiful interior, creamy creamy attraction. But even more striking is what comes next!

2) Livarot

The sunday we ate Livarot, the cheese plate was unusually burdened with also a wedge o’ brie de meaux and the leftovas of my maroilles fun time. But I had been waiting to nom on the livarot for mebs probs several weeks, so this was what I focused my efforts on. In comparison to the brie de meaux, the livarot seemed more refined in flavor as in it wasnt a big round creamy flavor but more decidedly salty, savory like almost porky, and only minimally cauliflowered (srsly my fridge….).Image It was easily spreadable and the rind had hints of chalky/whatever it was washed with AKA I gave my rinds to mama anne (she’s the rind disposal). You can see that there are 5 wrappings of straw which I find exciting because cheese decorations??? Hehhhh yehhhh. This extra bit is where Livarot gets its name – the 5 pieces of straw resemble(d) a colonel’s uniform in the French army. So cool. It was musky in taste but unique and it’s orange and wears clothes so yeah good work Livarot snaps for Livarot.

3) Raclette!!! 

This cheese knows how to throw a real party. Brett and a couple of his friends in fact had a raclette party and it was just so festive and cozy and definitely shall be repeated. Easier to host than a fondue party and more chances to stuff yo belly, raclette is an avenue to be explored. I think that the chImageeese is named rather for the apparatus on which one eats it. As I write this, my stomach is rumbling for melted cheese… There are several ways to eat, but they way we partied was with a double grill: top grill has a space for meat/potatoes/charcuterie/bread to get roasty warm and the lower grill has spots for the raclette scoopers. As demonstrated to our right, we have the scooper, a tranche of ham, some perterters, some baby onions, the plate of raclette slices, some melty yum yum raclette, and just poking out beneath the scooper is some prosciutto yum for cheese yummmm take me back to friday night!!!! The cheese itself is creamy, broad, soft, a iddle tangy, inviting, convincing, and rewarding. I shall invest in a raclette apparatus soon enough. Ahhh and when you nom with some real real dijon moutarde from france… And pepper o’ course… Its close to whatever divinity on earth would be. France, thank you. Also I think you can do raclette with havarti (so obsessed) or maybe swiss or something in the states so this slice o heaven isnt really just for the French or swiss.

4) Chèvre poivre

Bought this beaut at the Marché Talensac on saturday morning. Just strolling through, salivating at the pain aux raisins and stacks of saucisses and confections of foie gras and lolling at the token indian/chinese stalls that call hom bao “brioche étouffé” and dont have words for yakisoba… Then I stopped by a fromager and said “plz maam can I have that little bubble of chèvre plz” and voilà, a little butt of chèvre in my hand. Probably only one or two ounces big with a crust/dusting of ground peppers all around, this was the chèvre that could. ImageThe peppers were the kind of yum taste that sticks in your mouth with an accompanying heat that reminds you of your meal for a good half an hour after finishing. The cheese itself was a breath of fresh air, a renewal of the vows. Tangy, not too sharp in a goaty way, creamy and waxing crumbly, spreadable in a oh-so-gratifying way, and reminiscent of the summer pasta dishes made by mother with roasted corn, red peppers, and just enough dabs of gooey chèvre… This was a good way to eat through my saturday afternoon, that is to be sure of. When you get a little boo like this, it seems like it’ll be gone in a matter of bites. And then you taste the concentration, the power within, the flavors that are a plateau of fresh, and you know that it will be a long and not arduous whatsoever kind of meal. I have one hunchling that these decorated chèvres may come to be a favorite of mine, which I predicted about a year ago when I sampled a paprika-rubbed chèvre and said “YES THIS IS YUM.” Goat cheese, I thank you. France, I still thank you. The cheese that I will eat this week, I thank you in advance.


cheese is taste and taste is goût but not the illness

Cheese here is culture. I watched a news thing about carnival in rio and all the floats and colors and feathers seemed superfluous and trop trop trop UNTIL realizing that’s enjoyment, pride, culture, history, meaning, passion (although i h8 when people talk about passions aka passions are fine themselves but not when biddies say “i’m passionate about ….” aka also hope that makes sense to my generation), community, group identity, and importance all in one setting. For example such as cheese in france. Every night anne daniel and brett have cheese course after plat principal and the cheese ees new about every 3 days mebs 4. They eat like that because anne and daniel want to show brett that there is much much much to learn about fraaaance même que its just one country. And I’m so agreed! The cheeses that come from all over and are different/very different/subtly different occur like that because of the different grasses, herbs, soil composition, climate, farmer philosophy, bread types, animal producing milk, amount of sunlight, cave structure, length of affinage, blah blah SO MUCH DETAIL and history that goes into all da cheese. Sometimes daniel tells me about how this or that cheese was the oldest in france or this cheese is only just recently available outside of a specific region because its just getting pop you lar. People need something to be proud of and its hitting me so apparently that 1) the french have much to be proud of 2) cheese is a good thing to be proud of 3) the french are proud of their cheese 4) because it shows how one culture can be refined and refined and twerked to infinity = hundreds and hundreds of cheeses.

creamy orange liquid camembert

creamy orange liquid camembert

For example: saint félicien! Here we have a surprise that comes in a wooden basket. This is en fait tentation de saint félicien, more rare and astonishing. Its double crème, so yum but beware because double crème does not mean mild lame wet towel pedestrian everyday or predictable. Rather this is salty, strong, spreadable, and could be substituted for butter because its 70% fat so like almost just all fat. I was scurred by the tentation and found it too strong for my buddies however I’m still on the upswing from creating my new french intestines so we’ll have to revisit TdSF encore in the future. For the moment, its good to know that something like this exists because who ever thought you could spoon out a cheese with a teaspoon. Or watch cheese drip off of your mouth before you realize its dripping out of your mouth lol wut that happened.

Et the next one! Then my people bought something called pont l’évêque and I said not mad thank you lets eat!!!!11!! Below we see our nice square of P l’E aboard my cheese platter from seattle (you’re welcome lopins). pontlevequeIts a soft cheese, cows milk, affinaged like minimum 2 weeks so we are a young fromage indeed. I think ours was in fact a little older because as one can clearly see that is not a white white white rind, moreso a white yellow (jaunâtre haha) orange rind. In this case, I tasted camembert x rancid cauliflower. Again, omg too strong for brett to love but it was a learning experience. Moi asked daniel about why I was tasting rancid cauliflower and he said something maybe the cows were eating cauliflower but moi i think plutôt the cheese was just old strong fort annoyed. Like if roald dahl were personifying this morsel of cheese it would be a dour/sour old woman who eats asparagus and has cats aka consequently scents of too much vegetables/kittens/and mothballs. And sourness. Pont l’évêque thank you but like no thank you next. And happily enough i think my people were tired of my having too weak palate so the next was a return to isigny st mere camembert which i j’adore j’adore. bretthappyy

Evidently je l’adore vachement, thanks to holly for the documentation bcz proof or it didnt exist right??? You can see da morceau of cheese in my fingers, so happy and thankfully lacking ammonia odors because we let it breathe long enough to dispell that nonsense. Camembert: creamy, round, bloomy, essential, always welcome in my kitchen, not that easy to find a good one in the united states, that which the world should not be afraid of. Thank you good night sleep well

First time for everything

Normally I’m like actually aaaaalways about everycheese. Sauf I bought a gruyere wedge at albertsons earlier this year and it had this rill bitter, offputting chemical taste around the exterieur and I was concerned BUT I just had to make a casserole widdit so in it went and all was well. That emotion would have remained hidden in my head except that last last last night night we had this wanky dank holey looking hard cheese that tasted like everything I hate about swiss cheese and bad gruyere. It was called Bethmale and from what I’ve read about it online it’s supposed to be a miam-miam powerhouse aka we just got some baaaaad cheese or I’ve really found a taste combination that dont work for my buds. In fact, when I was eating the bethmale, my mouth was tingling and burning a little bit which was remarkable/horrifying because I wasnt even drinking red wine widdit. I think in general I’m not all about semi-soft cheeses with eyes (the holes in swiss), and this was just too gassy. The blehmale is the cheese on the left; the right is just a nice mild mountain cheese


But then today I had to buy more baguettes/nutella/cheese/lunchable items and I decided to try munster géromé. Raw cows milk mmmm so good, a litts bit stinky and gnarly high note but really all in all nothing more terrifying than a spiced-up chèvre. I ate a couple eedle wedges by themselves and then spread them on my baguette with porc rillettes mmmm so good again! The MG is fresh, very umami, almost crumbly in the center, soft, and piquant in an exciting way. I thought it was going to be comme a muenster fromage is that you can find in supermarkets but if I do say so, that muenster is naht as fresh and might be a different cheese but is porbably just older, presliced, and not as <<appellation d’origine controllé>> as this little munster. AKA I like and should eat as much of it as I can because aint gon find dis back in the USA. Something else thats good about france is that its allllways time for a cheesebreak #rightnow