|Annato seeds from the achiote tree that gave mimolette its bright orange color.|
Every day, for lunch — never dinner — my tray features a tiny plate with a morsel of cheese. The portion is perfect, not too frustratingly small and not too calorifically large.
As you no doubt know, France produces some 400 difference cheeses categorized into eight distinct families (more on this tomorrow) and within the 400 there are different nuances on the theme which makes me think of the difficult decisions I’m required to make in front of a shelf of chèvre varieties at our fromagerie.
Each meal, except breakfast of course which is always the same, is accompanied by a small menu. Somehow this adds to the pleasure. I can read what I am about to eat. I’ve saved all of the menus for the sole purpose of telling you about what is on offer in rehab. The cheeses may be the most exciting. I think the fromage series will be three parts because I don’t believe I’ve had the same cheese twice.
I’ve chosen six cow’s milk cheeses today, all delicious and many if not all familiar to you, except perhaps the one that is made industrially. It’s really unexpectedly good like many prepared products can be.
Emmenthal:It originated in Switzerland, but the French make their own.
Camembert: What’s to say really? One of my absolute favorites. I like it a little “ripe” while MRFLIF likes it less strong.
Brie de Meaux: The best of the best in my opinion and I’m certainly not alone. It has just enough salt in it. Other types of brie are available, but those from Meaux are the winner. (Feel free to disagree.)
Coulommiers: Creamy, creamy, creamy and often referred to as “brie’s little sister.” It’s a lovely cheese.
Mimolette: It looks like a cantaloupe and has a fascinating history. Apparently during the 17th century the French were taken with the taste of Edam, but at the behest of the Sun King, Louis XIV, and his finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, it was decided that France should create its equivalent — but different — fromage. Part of the difference included the color of the cheese. By adding the natural colorant, annato, from the seeds of a tropical tree, mimolette became a bright orange and singularly different from Edam.
Fromage aux noix de Dordogne: This is an industrialized spreadable cheese as you can see from the packaging. It’s nutty, creamy and good even though it may be a travesty in the real world of fromage. I rather doubt it makes it into the official count. Children probably love it.