Thursday, 26 November 2015

The experience of French cheese shopping

A lovely post on the Chocolate and Zucchini food blog which I follow takes us through the experience of buying cheese in a Paris fromagerie, and how to make the most of what's available.

I was particularly glad to see section three - 'seasonality'. (Plus a French translation for "What's good right now?")

That's an important aspect of the world of French cheese that those who haven't lived in France often miss. And thereby hangs a tale...

Every year, there's a moment in Autumn that I look forward to the way others look forward to the announcement that "Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé". It's the arrival of the Mont d'Or cheese in its little wooden box, puffed up in its box almost like a soufflé and with its soft slightly yellowing brown to orange crust looking almost as if it has been scattered with powdery snow.

The first time my knife sinks into the cheese. Will it be oozing and melting, or slightly firm, this time? Waiting for the first sniff of cream and lemons and slight gaminess and that tinge of pine that comes from the bark wrapping. Waiting for that unctuous feeling in the mouth, the way the cheese melts on the tongue, sticky for a moment, and then flowing, and then, too soon, gone and leaving only that piny savour behind it.

It's amazing that a cheese can be so creamy and yet so fresh. It's amazing that such a large cheese is gone so quickly...

And it's amazing that we seem already to have collected a half dozen of the little round boxes, which I have no idea at all what to do with.