Saturday, January 28, 2012

cheese (or, 450 reasons to love France)

OK, so I've counted and we currently have nine sorts of cheese in the fridge, or ten, if you count cottage cheese as cheese. We've got our regular staples:
1. parmasan
2. feta
3. gouda - I am Dutch, after all!
4. camembert - impossible to live without, according to Jean-Marc

And then we have a selection that I picked up on the way home from our snowshoeing trip in the Jura mountains:
Clockwise from the top, we have:
5. aged bleu de Gex
6. tomme de Jura
7. aged morbier (with ash running down the middle)
8. chèvre with truffle oil
9. brebis (sheep milk) with piment d'espelette or espelette pepper, from the Basque region

Our boss had organized a cheese-tasting at a famous fromager's shop in Gex, a city at the base of the Jura mountains. A fromager is someone who not only sells cheese, but ages it himself - sometimes for years and years - before selling it in his shop. France has over 450 kinds of cheese, which means there is more than one for every day of the year! This particular store had over 300 varieties to choose from and I thought it quite impressive to find a shop with two-thirds of the country's cheese selection in stock.

We tasted a number of regional cheeses and in the end we all bought some to take home as a souvenir. When we got back in the car after stopping at a rest stop for a coffee on the way home, the smell was something else (!), but we soon got used to it. Sometimes you have to suffer in order to enjoy the finer things in life!


  1. making cheese is on my list of things to learn this year! and vancouver has some new cheese shops so that will help with the research. you are one lucky lady to have so many varieties in your fridge, let alone 'in country'.

  2. I'm drooling.....I'm going to visit you in France and just eat cheese. That's it. :)

  3. Hello Marianne,
    I have been a very bad friend and have not done my best to stay in touch with you, but I am promising to do better :) This blog really drew me in. One of the things I remember about the Dekleer household was the biggest block of gouda cheese I have ever seen and still today gouda is my favourite. I grew up in a house where we only got marble cheese! Thanks for the fond memories this morning.

  4. Jane! Great to hear from you and happy to hear that you still like gouda. I hope all is well.