Archive for the 'French' Category

Cowgirl Creamery’s Library of Cheese

Are you looking for more information about a particular cheese? How about a selection from a particular country?

Cowgirl Creamery, the artisinal fromagerie near San Francisco features a nice library of cheese on their web site.

Here’s a sample entry:

Mimolette Extra Vieille

Mimolette Exra Vieille
Shaped like a pitted melon, this neon orange cow milk cheese from Flanders, Normandy has many stories told about its creation. My favorite tells a tale of France’s King Louis XIV, who banned the importation of Edamin (Edam) from his country. Apparently, the king decided that the Dutch cheese was getting too popular among his subjects, whom he felt, should be eating local: French cheese for French people! He commissioned a French copy of the cheese and ordered it dyed orange. Now, either that was to ensure that no one mistook the Mimolette for Edam again, or, given that Louis XIV had issues with the Dutch Royal House of Orange-Nassau, maybe it was a bit more personal.

Dyed with the annatto seed, Mimolette is aged for at least two years during which time it develops a chewy texture and a smoky, almost bacon-like flavor.
Mimolette Extra Vieille – Cowgirl Creamery’s Library of Cheese

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French cheeses at the Paris Bread Festival

This weekend, the entrance to Notre Dame in Paris smells a lot better. The annual Fête du Pain features fresh bread baking, classes for children, demonstrations, and a large display of French cheeses.
Fete du Pain - Paris 2008
The festival will continue on Sunday. It’s geared for the younger bread lovers, so take the children with you.

Fête des Fromages in Rocamadour, France

Fetes des fromagesFood festivals are always fun. You’ll find obscure dishes (garlic ice cream at the Garlic Festival), pseudo-celebrities (William Hung at the Artichoke Festival), beauty queens, and some really great food to eat and buy.

Rocamadour is a small town in France that features an annual Fête des Fromages in May. It’s the largest cheese fair in Southern France, with over 50 producers arriving to share their products.

The Travel Signposts Blog describes a cheese from this region:

This village has a cheese named after it, i.e. Cabécou de Rocamadour or more commonly known as “Rocamadour“. Since being awarded the AOC label in 1996, the producers have abandoned the name Cabécou as it’s too generic and hence today the cheese is just called “Rocamadour“. This also enables them to differentiate Rocamadour from the many Cabécou that exist. Rocamadour can be eaten at the various stages of maturation. Rocamadour (cheese)When it’s between 1 and 2 weeks maturity it has a subtle acidic aroma and a slight nutty taste. As the “affinage” progresses, these characteristics mature and become more pronounced.
Fête des Fromages – Rocamadour, France</cite>

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Bleu D’Auvergne, a mild french blue cheese

Bleu d'AuvergneBlue D’Auvergne is a milder blue cheese than its nearby cousins in Roquefort. It is creamy, smooth, and cooks/melts easily. It may not have the punch needed for a hearty blue cheese souffle or sauce, but it is great to eat in salads and by itself.

Artisanal Premium Cheese has a great description of it on their site:

Bleu d’Auvergne is a name-protected (Appelation d’Origine Controlée, AOC) cheese from the Auvergne region in south-central France, where it has been made since the middle of the 19th century. Bleu d’Auvergne is made in the traditional manner from cow’s milk and features blue veining throughout. Its moist, sticky rind conceals a soft paste possessing a grassy, herbaceous, and (with age) spicy, pungent taste.
Blue D’Auvergne Cheese – Artisanal Premium Cheese

Salad with Blue D’Auvergne tartine

Salad with bleue d'Auvergne
Recently, i had this salad with tartine at a small brasserie in Paris. The beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity.

The salad consisted of greens, tomatoes, walnuts, and olives. A tartine was made with a slice of Poilâne bread, smothered with Blue D’Auvergne and placed under the broiler for a minute or so to melt the cheese. This was then cut into smaller pieces and placed on the salad.

The bite sized chunks of cheese and bread made the salad a great meal. Try this for dinner tonight.

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Cheeses of France – the ultimate pocket guide


French Cheeses: The Visual Guide to More Than 350 Cheeses from Every Region of France

French Cheeses: The Visual Guide to More Than 350 Cheeses from Every Region of France has traveled with me to Paris a dozen times. It’s dog-eared pages are filled with notes about flavors, shops, and memories.

This book will tease you with its complete coverage of French cheese. No matter where you are in France, you’ll never be able to find more than a small fraction of the selection. The author describes not only the mainstays of cheese culture but also the tiny fromageries who have made cheese for 400 years with a dozen sheep on the family farm.

I’ve often used the book to start conversations at the shops, pointing to the desired cheese and asking the clerks if they had the selection. One time, a distinguished lady came up behind me and in a very amused Parisian accent said “How cute, he’s got a cheese book.”

If you haven’t guessed, this book is less of a cook book and more of a tourist guide. You’ll enjoy the descriptions and easy to understand maps and symbols. This is a required book for any cheesies bookshelf.