.... who am I to diss a brie? Thanks to claire for that perfect maxim. But in fact I would readily diss a président brie - anyone in american plz give your taste buds a tingle and look for an ovation or really any locally-produced (maybe not necessarily AOC) brie because you wont mind the lack of ammonia or the breath of fresh rind. Also something that needs to be said is that here in Nantes I have a friend named Jen but her last name sounds something like "cheeselow" but in polish aka all her friends call her "cheese" aka I HAVE A FRIEND NAMED CHEESE IN FRANCE. It's like finding a pet rock at stonehenge. Love you forever cheese <3 Point number two of the night: in my previous blog posts I tried to be educational and include information such as regions and species of milk producer but really this is my blog and 3.5 people might be reading it at any time so why not just get descriptive and inside my own mind? Cheese is so fxxn variable based on aging time, refrigerator status, packaging material, time of consumption, wine/food surrounding such consumption, time of year, and place of purchase. Thus therefore each cheese that I am eating and describing is really a snapshot in time of the grass conditions and animal moods that were relevant at the time of milk production and affinage. Also if the refrigerator is smelly like every single one in france then it is possible there will be environmental influence but tant pis. This blog isn't The Joy of Cheese although I would wholeheartedly recommend that you give that gem a try. I am not a well-connected socialite who can pair his cheeses with wine or cider or beer although I frequently eat my cheese with a Roche Mazet cabernet sauvignon. What I am is a young adult who likes to eat foremost in the world and finds the variety of cheeses of the earth to be a source of inspiration. What is here is plutôt a testimony to myself and the wide range of tastes and times that my taste buds are oh-so voluntarily subjected to. This cheese is a personal journey, not really something that needs to be backed up by a half-assed wikipedia search to provide some background details that en fait are just the façade in front of which the best parts of dairy are paraded.
Chèvre au paprika was like tangy firm cream spread but times a goat. Good chèvre always reminds me of a breath of fresh air or a wave of ocean water because it has such a clean aura about it. Cool, abrupt in the best taste sense, and with a clarity about its dairyness. With the tanginess came the mild heat of the peppers, so altogether I think this would be wayyyyy too good in pizza form. Can you imagine a fresh tangy pizza with just the right amount of vegetable and spice heat? Allllll the people would love it, even the vegans and carnivores. Tonight a french friend told me about a dish that is croquettes (little toasts), chèvre, miel (honey), noix (walnuts) and sea salt and I have sooo much hâte de goûter aka there will be a blog post when this deliciousness happens. Reminds me of bagels with ricotta and honey back at home - I could modernize that with some basil leaves; I think that would not be offputting whatsoever, maybe even a little edgy and new for the taste buds. Or even basil leaves fried in a clarified butter/honey reduction? Get your leaves crisped and caramelised at the same time oh noooooo.
And then we have the Comté. Like don't even get me started - what a beautiful beautiful product of french ingenuity. I even took the time to really taste what I was eating and oh man lemme tell you. LEMME TELL YOU. I found mushroom notes, really all-around an umami all-star. The comté was swiss-like in the sense/taste of the fuzzy sweetness that you find in the generic swiss cheese, but oh-so-much more complex and inviting. The taste of soy, mild fruit, and nuts was round, dynamic, and soft but not a thing to be trifled with. The last time I had comté was in a fondue savoie and truth be told I much prefer it in an uncooked state. The range of flavors gets sacrificed for melty stuff-your-face abilities and moi, I would prefer to peruse the paradises of taste found in the cheese state of comté.
To add: two more cheese at the latest dinners. We had a great Reblochon that really knocked the socks off of my nose and palate because it was so darn dairyish! The first bite was truth be told difficult because of the strong notes but after that... what a sweet sweet ride. Formidable on its own, the reblochon really made me start craving one of them tartiflettes. Eating the reb on a baguette toscane was a treat enough in itself. Then we also had a chèvre aux raisins secs and I won't get into great detail but what I will say = dessert/plate/meal of the world. The chèvre tangy cream salt and golden raisin fruity molasses sweetness is really quite an unexpectedly perfect combo and although I have eaten too much chèvre recently my brain is quite content with the overload.
For lunch, I've been eating gouda with cumin seeds. Its really not that spectacular aside from being a cheese with cumin seeds (so good I though they were coriander at first) and very solid and dependable. It would be a good way to get younger children into the world of tastes and cheeses - the gouda itself isn't surprising or demanding and its dairy origins mellow out the maybe never-before-experienced realm of cumin. I have never seen a cheese like that in the states but iz some good stuff. Then even better is below:
As demonstrated by the label, this is some Cantal Jeune or young cantal. This is an important distinction: this kitten is a young puppy and should not be compared to its older version/completely different incarnation of aged cantal. However, still a good time. Here we have verbatim my primary source recounting of the cantal eating experience from lunch on March 27: "Texture of just-before-crumbly cheddar with a hint of pungent odor almost floral or yeasty that makes reference to an imagination of jack cheese x havarti + france. Salty, clean aftertaste, good amount of tangy buttermilk in the high note. Altogether not complex but still pleasant. Would make a damn fine grilled cheese and maybe is even adventurous enough to hold up next to blueberry confiture yummm. I think that aged cantal would be stronger and more crystalline." Aka cantal was a good time and the next time (after rocamadour and several others omg) I'll be getting an aged cantal and a full report shall be furnished. Until then, bonne nuit!