Plates of Birthday Dinner Cheese

I've been finna eat all the cheeses that I can get without developing atherosclerosis or cholesterol inundation or whatnot and probably as I am a youthful male with no family history I should be able explore to my mouth's content for a good while. So. Obviously the most time efficient manner in which to achieve this goal is a cheese plate. And cheese plate we have! Last weekend was the pre-birthday celebration for MEH and so after rosé + pamplemousse syrup, boudin noir, ham rollem-ups, paté, cornichons, salade, red onion confiture, roasted chicken à la like mediterranean, and before pineapple charlotte and petit brun cake we had a kingly cheese plate. See below photo. Cheese plate from the heavens  







Here, we have six cheeses. The remnants of the wine and rosé are evident, and the empty cheese plates waiting to be filled are just visible. The bread basket as well, just to the left, hints at the coming tastes. And then in the center: our centerpiece. Going counter-clockwise starting with the swiss-looking cheese cheese, we have Emmenthal, Roquefort, Chèvre aux noix (walnuts), morbier, curé nantais, and in the middle (red droplet looking thing) is the Boulette d'Avesnes. And thus alors now we can talk about the cheese.

Emmenthal: The archetypal "swiss cheese" although in the US "swiss cheese" is milder, aged for only around 4 months, and seems to me saltier and flatter in taste spectrum. Here in France, emmenthal is the cheese of the day (like cheddar in the states). When I make omelettes or really anything that I want to put cheese in, emmenthal is the go to. Sometimes if we want to get really fancy we can get a shredded emmenthal-gruyere-gouda mix and THAT ladies and gentlemen is a treasure.

Roquefort: Blue, sheepy, soft, moist, big on flavor, k yeah everyone knows what roquefort is. What's interesting/infuriating is that one of the last things that Mr. W Bush did in office was raise the tariff on roquefort by 300% so ain't nobody getting roquefort in the states.

Chèvre aux noix: Confessional: before this cheese and another chèvre aux raisins secs and another chèvre aux poivre I really underestimated chèvre mixes. I would see them in New Seasons and mostly all over France and never really gave them much though. But quite honestly, the chèvre aux raisins secs (aka raisins) that I ate yesterday was one of the most complete flavor marriages that my taste buds have ever savored. Chèvre is great for that - it has a clean flavor that doesn't linger much, so combining it with other similarly clean/strong flavors is genius. I wasn't the biggest fan of the walnuts this time, but the progression of chèvre combinations has set my conceptions straight.

Morbier: Delicious as always. In the olden days, morbier was a result of dairy farmers being left with leftover curds at the end of the day with not enough to make an entire round; consequently, they would spread the evening curds with ash (voilà the thin line in between layers) and then make a morning milk layer the next day! Farmers you smaaart.  However, I no fan of the rind though - is almost sandy?? Not bloomy or washed whatsoever. Wikipedia described it as leathery and I agree... Thankfully Anne is always happy to eat my rinds for me so no wasting is going on here.

Curé Nantais: First time!!!!111!1 This guy is a soft cheese, alllmost spreadable. Strong in a very happily palatable way, it tickles the mouth with pungent odors and then says "bye I'm just creamy and better than brie usually." Even better is that I'm in Nantes aka I'm Nantais aka I'm eating products from the homeland!

Boulette d'Avesnes: Pièce de résistance! Coated with paprika and with chives/parsely on the inside, this is a fun cheese. I was reading about it online and said "ok, yeah I'll buy this one next time." I was envisioning a goaty-chivey yum time but in fact the Boulette was bitter? A calm initial taste, paprika influenced yes, but then overwhelmingly a bitter taste of the hard nature! It was a disappointment because ehhh not that enjoyable. Rather an intellectual exercise. However, the mode of container was a plastic cylinder so maybe the packaging had something to do with the not-so-pleasant taste. Either way it has a cool name and paprika on the outside so we can be friends without tasting each other.