Taste the world in 4 cheeses

The elation that comes before a meal that you know will challenge and expand and stretch and regale your taste buds = exactly what I felt last friday afternoon. On a break from 3 weeks of work and in a mood to burn money on things that float my very own boat, I put together a cheese feast with some coworkers. We picked up 7 varieties, of which I will write about not Taleggio, Morbier, or Saint Nectaire. The biggest pity is that my iPhone with pictures of all these albuminous protein chunks from the Netherlands, France, Spain, and wisconsin was lost to the Salish Sea, so the only fruit for the brain buds will be concise descriptions of what I savoured.

First was the Pave de Jadis, an ash-covered chèvre from the Pays de la Loire. It was weeping moisture in the way only the heat of 5 PM in late july can coax out of a tranche of cheese. It had a slow to come on, rather fuzzy way of conveying citrus, mild dairy, and mellow grasses.

Second was the Garrotxa, a Catalonian aged goat’s cheese. Funky and bleu-chestnut rind colored with fishy tasties in my olfactory part influencing the chalky earth salt taste. A little mold funk made me think that this cheese is confused but in a “share my delirium” sort of engaging way.

Third was the Ballerina, by far the most expensive of our cheeses. It is an aged gouda that has a wonderful dark amber interior and translucent cheese crystals. I am not sure how long the affinage process lasted but I would venture somewhere in between 15-27 months (big range I know). It seemed like a wonderful vessel that someone poured delightful essence of garlic, molasses, salt, and roasted shrooms. The range and developing flavas was just so exciting and I highly recommend this cheese and other friends who like to talk about what they taste for a good time.

Last was Honeybee, another aged gouda. Somehow the sweetness and citrus of a teriyaki chicken skewer were the very first analogies I could find. This cheese finished with such a fun creamy nut sweetness that would have been both a muted dandelion yellow and earthy violet were they to be colors instead of (or in addition to) tastes.

These cheeses were fun to eat. We spent $70 on cheese (and sancerre) and I can’t think of a more amusing way I have spent my money in months.

Avenues of Cheese

No, I have not eaten anything new in the past 24 hours (with regards to cheese of course). Yes, I still want to post things on the blog because the exploration of cheese is slowly and surely taking over my romantic soul. Yes, I do want to move back to France as soon as I have my bachelor’s and work at a crèmerie somewhere in the nearby countryside and speak French with the locals and live a calm, different culture. Being here in France is really just like second life to me now – I take for granted all the magic that is here and I know it, so coming back is a necessity. Why not do something absolutely novelesque in my young years when I can afford to take advantage of my no responsibilities/obligations/connections? Aka yeahhhhh

Anyway I was driving back from a beach day in Préfailles (beautiful beautiful rocky savage beaches and seafooooood) when I realized there are plenty of cheese-related tidbits that I can be passing on to the 2.3 readers of this blog!  So Tidbit 1: As you may know, I briefly changed the name “cheeseisgod” to “Sweet Dreams Are Made of Cheese” before I realized that the domain name itself didn’t change and that was confusing blah blah but nevertheless this is a great little cheese/a capella rendition of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25RuXkkM9T0

Like vraiment lol; 37 seconds of cheese dedicated singing = something I am toats down with. Then comes Tidbit 2: You can get a free wisconsin cheese guide/poster by following this link and just entering your address! http://www.eatwisconsincheese.com/cheese/requestguide.aspx … I just received mine a couple of days ago and it has about 30 different varieties on it and at the very least like its a piece of free paper with cheese to look at. I saw this offer on another cheese blog about 3 months ago so pay it forward friends!

Tidbit 3: Camembert-pomme tartelettes! We ate these last saturday for dinner and mehhh I had a Baraka burger (dirtiest burger in Nantes… quarter pounder cheeseburger with HASH BROWNS LIKE WHUTTT) right before dinner so was not too too peaked but still managed to get one tartetlette in the belly. If I had been hungrier like my oh my so much consumption! Unfortunately I did not take a picture of ours but this is a prets good approximation (thanks Google images (does that count as a citation/oops this is a parentheses in a parentheses)) of what the magic was. Fondante, strong like camembert, buttery, sucré, oooooh you don’t even know if it’s a dessert or plat principal. I strongly suggest you give this a try, and most of the online recipes seemed like similar versions enough to what I had. Even if you don’t try it, at least you know it exists!

Tidbit 4: Camembert Chantilly! Like seriously this is something that would be “rien n’est plus simple à faire” according to the wise words of my wise host father Daniel. You can find the recipe here: http://rusticooking.over-blog.com/article-pommes-caramalisees-a-la-chantilly-de-camembert-115514680.html … I will be making this as soon as I am back in the states and camembert me manque tellement and as this will be in a chantilly form I don’t necessarily need some D’Isigny Sainte Mère camembert to calm my palate. By really world?? Camembert chantilly? I think this could go with buttermilk gaufres or chocolate blueberry pancakes? Savory profiteroles? Shooters with chantilly on top?? Ooohoo vraiment avenues of cheese.

Tidbit 5: Cheese tasting poster with 16 principal flavors My friend Charlie who is a chem major and tryna get his masters in food science so he can do that the rest of his life posted this on my wall and I thank him dearly. I wasn’t sure if I agreed entirely with the distinctions, but then I’m the one with the palate, not the doctorate in food science. http://www.popsci.com/files/cheese-poster.png?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews Here you can see what cheeses are related to each other, what flavor traits they have in common, and how much. I find it pretty american-centric, but at least 6 french cheeses are represented so good stuff. At the very least its amusing to see such a thorough definition of what tastes are present.

Okay so yes enjoy the tidbits, I leave for Paris in the morning where I hope to visit the legendary shops of Quatrehomme and Androuet and Laurent and ohhhh can’t even wait. A plus!