Category Archives: Fromage Friday

Fromage Friday: Brillat Savarin

It’s BACK! Sure, there is a lot of good cheese to be eaten in the United States, but on that side of the Atlantic “fancy” cheese is more expensive and seems frivolous. In France, I feel like a criminal every time I walk past a fromagerie without buying something. That means I feel like a criminal every 15 minutes, but so be it.

The return to glory involved the 17ème arrondissement’s Alléosse fromagerie and about five kinds of cheese, but the only one I’d never had before was Brillat Savarin. The cheese comes in a square about the size of your fist, but a quarter of it is more than enough to last a few days because it’s a   “triple crème” cheese. This means that cream is added to the usual milk mixture when this cheese is being created. It also means the cheese is about 75 percent fat. One sliver of this bad boy meant I had to put some of my other cheese slices back on the plate at lunch (l’horreur!!!); I was just WAY too full. Yes, I said it. I found a cheese I can’t really eat.

According to my reader-friendly cheese book, this cheese was created by Pierre Androuët, FATHER of the master of all things French cheese, in 1930. He’s also the author of my less-than-reader-friendly “Dictionary of World Cheeses.” Good work, Team Androuët.

Brillat Savarin

Made by: Fromager/Affineur (meaning they actually mature the cheese) Alléosse, rue Poncelet. The line was 10 people long. I take the advice of travel writers and get in lines whenever I see that many people waiting.
Hails from: The northwest of France. Mostly Normandy.
Background: Not a handmade cheese, and so creamy that my aunt squeezed a piece and said it actually felt like butter. It’s a fresh cheese in that it only needs to age a few weeks, but it’s by no means light. Whoa mama. It’s also fairly strong tasting. I had been expecting something like Brie, but it’s much richer and tangy-er in flavor. Holds its own, for sure!
Can I eat the rind? You can, but it’s not necessary.
Serve it with: Veggies. Fruit. More veggies. Scant amounts of bread. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but this is not the kind of cheese I could handle eating with prosciutto or ham.

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Fromage Friday: Gouda in Amsterdam

The number one most important thing in my life in France is markets. Even on vacation, I see those white tents and box trucks in the distance and it’s like a giant magnet descends from the sky and pulls me head-first toward the fruit, veg, bread and cheese.

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Fromage Friday: Langres

On the train home from Troyes last Saturday, I passed directly through Langres. Every time I pass through a city that has the same name as a cheese, I feel kind of… honored. I also feel compelled to go try that cheese immediately, so this week’s choice at the fromgerie was simple.

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Fromage Friday: Chaource

I can’t seem to keep hold of the few days, weeks, hours, that I have left before I move on from Epinal, either back home to the States for the summer or on to somewhere else.

On top of my obviously not knowing what I will be doing in a month and a half’s time (I haven’t even purchased a ticket home), it’s really hit home this week that many of the people I work with, live with, and spend my free time with will be inaccessible to me for much of the rest of my life. The problem with living in a lot of different places is that you make a lot of friends, and some of them will always be far away. The Atlantic Ocean is really not my friend.

With that on my shoulders, I didn’t make it to the market Wednesday morning to buy some cheese and produce. Instead, I bought some at the most expensive grocery store in all of Epinal. Shame! On the upside: I will be in Paris Friday and in Troyes on Saturday, which is the former capital of Champagne, and now holding down the Bourgogne fort. Perfect for this cheese post.

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Fromage Friday: Epoisses de Bourgogne

I had several major failures in England, including not procuring any black pudding. Black Pudding is one of 47 things left remaining on a 100 Things to Eat Before You Die list. Therefore, I had to go for Epoisses cheese this week, so I can check another item off.

I was a little intimidated. When you look up Epoisses de Bourgogne, you see that its a “strong-smelling, washed-rind cheese, with an aroma of marc.” Marc is not a smelly French guy, but rather the grape residue such as skins of the alcohol from grapes which certain cheeses are bathed in or treated with to improve or change their flavor. Also, when you buy Epoisses from the fromager, it looks like it’s trying to escape from its rind. In the case, it reminded me of Gak.

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Home Away from Home

“I do think it needs some bells and whistles… Do your own design jiggery-pokery.”

“Tight-fisted frogs!”

“I was buying some Wheetabix, the best breakfast cereal there is. The Queen eats it, of course I have to eat it. It has the Queen’s seal of approval on it!”

All these quotes come from one source; a former British boss of mine who first gave warm-and-fuzzy thoughts about that island across the channel. Add another excellent Brit-import boss, two years working with University of Nottingham, a couple sun-filled London vacations, and a year in a “latin europe,” and you get an odd result. Despite my accent and upbringing, I felt like I had just come home from the moment I stepped off the train in London last Wednesday afternoon.

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Fromage Friday: Pavé Carvinois

My fromager has figured me out. After months of showing up at the cheese counter, standing behind the line for 5 minutes just staring at the case, he’s started giving me little tidbits of information when I choose a cheese completely at random.

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