All things cheese in France

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Affinage - A discussion about the fine art of ripening cheese in the NYTimes

A great article about affinage in the New York Times on October 4, 2011 : Cheese: A Coming-of-Age Story, by JEFF GORDINIER - Is affinage the fine art of ripening cheese, or is it a simple marketing ploy?  Well worth reading.  In my opinion, anyone who says the art of affinage is bunk or just a marketing ploy, not only doesn't know what they are talking about but the cheese they 'produce' won't be worth eating!  I'd love to see what the response would be if these detractors told an affineur of Comté that what they do to their wheels is not necessary! Because unless you are a cheese producer who has the time and has the space with the proper quality of humidity and temperature control required to age your own cheeses, an affineur is required, otherwise the cheese will rarely, if ever, become what it is meant to be. 

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A Cheese Tasting - An Adventure

Ah! Where have we been since April? Exploring the countryside, looking for new cheeses and places to visit. So to get back into the swing of things, a little diversion is in order...

So how about a taste and texture journey? Let's do a cheese tasting to explore sensorial delights. For the experienced, it's higher education; for the beginner, a mystery of flavours, shapes, styles and unfamiliar names. Seek help from a good cheesemonger or do your own trial and error, but don't hesitate, jump in and have fun! 

Portions & Accompaniment Guidelines 

Cheese  For a small tasting figure 5-10 cheese and ½ oz (15g) serving of each different cheese per person or 2½ - 5oz (75-150g) per person total. For a more generous tasting, figure ¾oz (21g) of each different cheese per person or 3¾ - 7½oz (105-210g) per person total.

Wine  500 - 700ml per person as a 750ml bottle equals 5 glasses. (1 case of 750ml is 12 bottles or 60 glasses). Make sure the wines are at their appropriate temperature, this means whites should be iced and tannic reds opened one hour ahead. 

Beer or Ciders Depending on which you choose, gauge quantities by the size of the bottles relative to the portions called out for wine.

Accompaniments  Charcuteries; fresh fruits (apples, pears, plumes, dates, figs, raisins); nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans). The British usually serve, celery sticks and grapes.

Breads & Biscuits  Good, fresh baguettes, a nut loaf, raisin loaf, pain campagne
and a country style, whole grain wheat bread give you a full coverage of all the textures. Rule of thumb is to serve a half of a baguette per person. Biscuits are also very good carriers. The Fine Cheese Company from Bath England has a great range specifically designed for cheese - All butter Charcoal, Natural and Wholemeal crackers are the best, also the Olive Oil & Sea Salt, Bath Ovals and English Oatcakes work well.  

Choosing the Cheese

In the weeks before your party, find the very best place in your area to buy cheese. Your first choice for buying cheese is a good cheese shop, or a high quality cheese counter in an grocer that sells hand cut and wrapped cheeses. You want a cheese vendor that displays whole cheeses and cut the amount of cheese you want as you purchase it. Or if this is not possible, purchase from a reputable on-line provider.

Decide ahead of time which theme you want to present - a balance board, all one milk type, all blue, one region. Choose five to ten cheeses, depending on the number of guests. For a balanced board, aim for variety - hard and soft, mild and strong, different milk types, blue veined and smelly. Make note of the name of the cheese, country or region of origin, type of milk, style of cheese, and any other information the cheesemonger uses to describe the cheese.  

Choosing the Beverages

Just as everyone's palate is different, so is everyone's taste in wine and other beverages. When you are serving a variety of cheeses, it will be unlikely that one wine or beer will go with all cheeses. This frees you from worrying about precise pairings. Select some versatile white wines such as a Champagne or sparkling wine, a Riesling and /or a Pinot Gris. Chardonnays are a bit more difficult as there as so many variations. Add red wines including a Syrah and/or Pinot Noir, a Beaujolais cru and a big tannic Bordeaux or Bourgogne. Matching the region of the cheese and wine is always a safe bet. Make sure you choose a selection of good quality wines and maybe a beer or cider to serve as a counterpoint. The goal is to have fun, so don't be surprised if your guests end up picking one of you choices and stick with it throughout the tasting.  The next post will give you some pairing guidelines.


The accompaniments for a cheese tasting, or anytime for that matter, should be simple. Artisan or bread, biscuits or crackers specifically for cheese are the best choices. Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts as well as dried fruits such as figs or prunes or fresh apples, pears and grapes round out the palette. Fruit pastes such as quince paste (membrillo) or chutneys like onion or mango give the tasting a sugar balance and are visually appealing. The jury is still out on good quality olives, some people find them too oily for a tasting, but it is again a matter of taste. 

Final Touches

Presentation is a huge part of the process. Cheese and all the accompaniments must appeal to the eye first then the palette. Cheeses should be removed from the refrigerator at least one hour ahead of serving (except for fresh cheeses). Leave yourself enough time to arrange the boards, as it takes time to cut and lay them out. There are two options for serving - cheese boards set out for guests to sample themselves or individual plates already prepared for each guest.
Provide name tags for the cheeses and tasting note cards for your guests.

If you choose cheese boards for your guest to serve themselves, the boards can be a plate, slabs of marble, slat or granite, oiled wood, ceramic or glass trays. All should have a large, flat surface to leave enough room between the cheeses so they can be easily cut. If need be, use several boards. Flat baskets work as well but are harder to cut on, so think of providing the individual cheeses with an underlining, such as grape or fig leaves. There are also some attractive paper versions but be careful with runny cheeses as they get soggy.

If you choose to plate-up your selection ahead of time, use serving plates that are large enough to hold all the cheeses.  If the plate is rectangular, start from the top left position and proceed from the simple to the more complex, fresh to aged, mild to strong, working your way aroung the board clockwise. If it's round, I start at 12 o'clock and go clockwise from there.

Accompaniments should be on separate plates to pick and choose from at will. Sufficient and appropriate cutting tools should be laid out to cut each cheese. They can include specialized cheese knives, a cheese plane or spreader depending upon the texture of the cheese. If your using the cheese board option, make sure there are plenty of small, dessert-sized plates and napkins. And it is always a good idea to place the beverages (including still & sparkling water) on a separate table to ease the flow of traffic.  


Tasting is usually done in a wine - cheese - wine sequence. But great cheeses can stand alone so we like to take in the whole cheese picture first: the look, touch, smell and taste. Observe the physical properties of the individual cheeses first; next move to the rest of the senses. To experience the texture of the cheese, take a small piece between the thumb and index finger, press it to feel the texture and release more of the flavour characteristics (yes, it sounds impolite but it is the how the experts do it!). Now take a big whiff and let your olfactory sense start to describe the cheese for you.

Next place a small piece of cheese on your tongue and let it melt a bit. Press it firmly against your palate to release all of the flavours, or as the Maitre Fromager Max McCalman says "let it luxuriate on your tongue, stimulating your mouth and getting all the juices flowing in there." Just like wine, there will be a first impression of the characteristics then a second and sometimes even a third. Now you can proceed to the wine. Add a splash of wine on top of the cheese to taste the meeting point of the two. (If you prefer to taste the wine first, clear the palate with a piece of bread or biscuit after the first sip.)

Describing cheese is particularly difficult as there is a whole language that goes with the process. But the aspects to consider are: the colour, the colour aspect (is it bright, dull, or shiny), the density, texture (crumbly, chalky, pasty, smooth or dry), flavour & aroma (acidic, ammoniac, banyardy, floral, nutty, salty, and mushroomy) and qualitative aspect (is it biting, complex, concentrated, rich, sharp, simple or unctuous). Try tasting both a white and a red wine with it. Which one works best? You decide.

It is always a good idea to keep a journal of your pairings and tasting menus for future reference.  

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Cow's Milk - Bête noire ?

At the fromagerie, we often have people say they can't eat cheese because they are lactose intolerant. These same people invariably tell me that they can eat those made from goat's or sheep's milk.  Really? And why would that be true?  All milks have lactose, but most of the lactose in cheese is either drained away with the whey or converted to lactic acid during the aging process leaving little or no lactose. So how could this be true and what is the issue here? Is there any science to back this up? Is cow's milk harder on the body than goat's or sheep's milk?

Lactose intolerance is very common in adults and not dangerous, but milk allergies are more serious and broad reaching. Understanding the root cause of the problem is necessary because while symptoms associated with lactose intolerance are similar to those of dairy allergies; it is how & to what the body reacts that is different.  It is important to note that a person can be lactose intolerant and also have sensitivity to dairy proteins, i.e., be allergic, but these two maladies are not necessarily coexistent. In the case of lactose intolerance it is the milk sugars (lactose) that cause the hypersensitivity whereas in a milk allergies, it is the milk proteins.

There are different make ups of milk proteins (casein) in all of the milk types. It is the major protein in cow's milk alpha-s1-casein protein, not present in sheep or goat milk, which is to blame for the adverse reaction. The body's immune system attacks them as if they were an invader rather than breaking them down. Since these milk proteins are present in any related milk product, anyone with an allergy to the proteins is susceptible to varying degrees of allergic reaction. And as milk proteins are the main building block of any cheese, for someone with a milk allergy, eating cheese is pretty much impossible.

Those with lactose intolerance have a different problem.  Lactose intolerant people cannot digest lactose (milk sugars) which is different than milk proteins. The body is incapable of metabolizing lactose because of a lack of the enzyme lactase in the small intestines (known as lactase deficiency).  As enzymes help the body absorb foods, not having enough lactase means these sugars stay intact and the intestinal bacteria have a feeding frenzy. So when products containing high levels of lactose are ingested, gas is produced in the intestines and violà, discomfort ensues. 

According to Wikipedia, milk from buffalo has 4.86% lactose, yak 4.93%, unprocessed cow milk 4.7%, goat milk 4.7% and sheep milk 4.6%. So when someone says they are lactose intolerant to cow's milk, the same intolerance to sheep and goat's milk should exist, right?  Well, while these milks contain the same level of lactose, it is thought that goat & sheep milk are more easily digested than cow's milk because they do not contain the same concentrations of casein (milk proteins). Therefore, there is a strong possibility that folks who can drink non-cow milks with no problem, in reality have an allergy as opposed to being lactose intolerant. 

So what about cheese? Well, in the case of cheese, it comes down to how much actual lactose is still present in the finished product. Because lactose is a water-soluble molecule, higher fat percentages, fermentation, the curdling process and aging have an impact on the amount of lactose that remains in a cheese product.  To begin with, in the early hours of the life of a traditionally produced cheese, most of the lactose present in any milk passes into the whey, which is drained off.  The bit that remains in the cheese curd is converted into lactic acid during the ripening process and disperses as the water content evaporates and the milk proteins become more concentrated. 

The longer the aging, the less lactose is present in the curd.  Not true of milk proteins obviously as the pate is made is primarily made up of these proteins.  Traditional, aged hard cheeses have only about 10% of the lactose that is found in the original whole milk.  For instance, a 24 month old Emmental or Comté, both cow's milk cheeses, have practically no lactose remaining.  So theoretically, even if one is lactose intolerant, one will have problems with fresh and minimally aged cow milk cheese like camembert but not have problems eating long aged cow's milk cheeses.

So why is it that these folks seem to be able to deal with the other milk types?  In buffalo, goat & sheep milk cheeses; the basic milks have smaller fat globules to begin with, which do not clump together in the same was as in cow's milk, thus making the milk naturally homogenized and in general produce a more dense cheese. Assuming you do not have a major protein related allergy, these two factors in conjunction contribute to a higher digestibility of these milks and their respective cheeses. 
None of this is 100% applicable to commercial cheese, i.e., those manufactured by modern processes.  Here these processes generally do not have the same lactose reducing properties, in part due to the elimination of so called 'good bacteria' during the milk pasteurization process and/or the length of aging. 

Another culprit which might be part of this digestive problem can be found in an additive, Lysozyme (additive E1105). The additive is an anti-microbial enzyme which is extracted from fresh chicken egg white and is used for its antibacterial properties primarily in the manufacture of industrial cheeses.  Although it is not always the case, people allergic to eggs (different than dairy) may also be allergic to lysozyme; therefore they often present the same symptoms as someone with a milk allergy. So the rule of thumb for people with egg white allergies might be to avoid commercially made cheeses all together.  Not to fear however, because the use of lysozyme is not allowed in the production of French AOC cheeses (interestingly most being made from raw milk). 

With all this information, it would seem that people with lactose intolerance should be able to eat any, and I would say any traditionally made, milk type cheeses that have been long-aged. No scientific tests have been done to prove this that I can find, so I always try to enlist willing subjects to try a beautiful 24 month old Comté or Beaufort to see if what happens.  If they still report having a problem, then in my opinion, they are more likely to have a milk allergy than being lactose intolerant.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Comté - an update

In December, David Lebovitz wrote two posts about his visit to two local Jura Mountain fruitiéres to see how this fabulous mountain cheese is made - complete with lots of photos and his ever amusing recounting of events as they occurred. 

Sadly somehow I forgot to make the post. They are very well worth reading especially if you are nowhere near the French Jura Mountains! One of them is called Comté Cheese Making and the other is called Comté Cheese Ripening and Tasting. And for more information, see their very impressive website with some hilarious videos:  Le Comté - nous apprends à savourer le temps...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

le Salon de l'Agriculture Paris 2011

I have issues with crowds. Too much humanity in any one place at any one time and in five seconds flat, I go crazy! So I know better! And yet, just like the proverbial salmon who somehow swims up stream, I find myself every year smack in the middle of what is undoubtedly, the mother of all crowds – the one at the Salon de l’Agriculture, staged in Paris every year in February. 

I must be mad! For one thing, the Salon starts during the second week of spring break when all good mamans parisiennes ou banlieusardes (ou papas for that matter) are desperate to entertain their children. So for less than a 10er for each of their little darlings, they can not only keep les petits and not so petits out of trouble for an entire day but educate them about their genetic connection to la  belle France at the same time! Second, this is France and according to Anthelme Brillat-Savarin - “The destiny of nations depends on the way they eat” - so food, specifically the newly crowned UNESCO World Heritage French Food and the agriculture that supports it, is an integral part of the identity and culture of les Frenchies. Third, NO French person worth his or her Paraboots, especially city dwellers, would be caught dead without a recent anecdote about how he or she regularly connects with la France profounde, hence in the midst of grey depressing winter, we (I included) dutifully flock in the 100’s of thousands to the penultimate expression of all things French / Food – the expo designed to show off our farms, the farmers, their animals, products and way of life.  

The Paris Exposition at Porte de Versailles is an immense site. 226,000 square meters (that’s 2,433,000 square feet!) of floor space; 8 pavilions; 1,000 exhibitors and 650,000 people cram into and outside of it. No matter what hour or what day of the nine this Salon runs, there are seemingly a gazillion children of all ages climbing all over each other trying to get in touch with the land. You cannot image it unless you have been there. Pure mayhem, it is OTT; hors contrôle! And for some reason, I am always there when staunch farm supporter and past president, Jacques Chirac (and the 100 or so news crew engulfing him) makes his way through the main hall, petting the animals, chatting knowingly with the farmers and munching the winning regional delicacies, with his hands no less! The people love him because, unlike the incumbent, being from Corrèze, Chirac definitely knows his cows from his cheeses!  

All that being said, I love it. Imagine, bulls the size of small cars; pigs the size of a pony with even more fur; doe-eyed merino and cashmere goats right there in touching distance! Behold everywhere cute baby everythings, except of course, those in strollers being pushed by their parents through la foule (mob to you) either into you or over your feet. For us city dwellers enamoured with country life, it is a bonanza, a must see and do, even if you are crowd challenged! So to brave this crowd from hell there have to be rewards! Products rarely seen off the farm like cheeses, an example would be that brought by a single producer, the Coup de Corne, made at the Ferme de Cabriole in Saint-Félix de Lauragais (east if Toulouse). It is a raw cow’s milk cheese made of milk from the beautiful Brune race of cows which produce milk super high in matiere gras that makes the cheese silky and unctuous like a triple cream but isn’t! It is also rumoured to be used in my personal favourite - Epoisse! Or imagine a 24 month Ossau Iraty rarely seen outside of la Pays Basque, nutty, crunchy and expensive but worth every centimes. And a plethora of foie gras, saucissons and charcuteries, or weird fruits like the tiny but oh so delicious pineapples from Martinique, all of which you can buy and gorge on later in the comfort of your own apartment. 

The Salon offers lots of other things to do too than seeking a centimetre of fresh air. The most interesting for me, besides the animals and rare products of course, is the the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Fromager competiton (MOF). Only the best of the best and the hardiest of French cheesemongers, who compete over several months, win this prestigious title, which sets them apart and if not famous, then part of a very rare fraternity. Here they produce their piece de resistance of cut and presented cheeses. The chosen finalists go on to the last test in March, a blind tasting, where they have to identify a series of 30 or so cheeses – and believe me these contestants are impressive, as this test is like the one the sommelier go through for the World's Best Sommelier Competition. 

So after a day of fabulous farmers, mind blowing animals, goodies galore and crushing crowds, I head home with my clutch of brochures and food souvenirs to soak my feet and start to forget about how many times I had to control myself from hyperventilating and the desire to rampage through the hordes, to seek calm until next year… 

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Raw Milk Cheeses - safe or not?

The recent article in the NY Times entitled 'Raw Milk Cheesemakers Fret Over Possible New Rules' raises this ongoing battle between raw versus pasteurized milk products. once again. Raw milk cheeses have been around since the beginnings of time so what are the real reasons they are in danger of being outlawed? Enough with all the hyperbole, big industry influences and misleading claims, it is high time some real science and impartial research be done on raw milk cheeses!

Modern societies create their own environments and constraints, which in turn create their own need for specialized regulation for large populations. A one-size fits all rule, such as the 60 day aging rule in the US (fallacious from the start) is patently not appropriate. Pasturization not only does not eliminate the problem. In fact, pasturized cheeses have a pretty bad track record in this arena, both in the US and in France. The needs of an industrial cheese producer or any edible product for that matter, versus a small farm producer are different. What is not different is hygiene, both from the milk source, during the making, while being transported, stored and ultimately handled. At each point, there is the potential risk of contamination. and each present their own specific issues and varying levels of potential. Therefore, each point of weakness must be measured for its possibility to contaminate; considered fairly

One must also take into account the effects of the current anti-germ culture, such as the one in the US, where it seems all germs are bad and must be eradicated.  Is this practice of sanitizing everything, not in fact exacerbating the problem by distorting nature’s ability to balance good versus bad? One must accept that risk is inherent in life. To that end, each of us is responsible for determining how much exposure we are prepared to take, as well as what role our governments should take to mitigate risks for its people. But where is the balance between risk and profit? Where is rational, nonbiased research and debate about this issue? Now more than ever, we have the capability to do the science and debate the debate. It is time, in my opinion to do so.

Note Bene:  There is a recent video entitled `Cheese and Microbes` over on the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheeses site worth taking a look at on the subject at hand.

Monday, 31 January 2011

More Comté Joy and La Percée du Vin Jaune

For you fans of Comté, a great pairing is always the wine that comes from the same region the cheese is made - the Jura. The marriage of Comté and le Vin jaune (yellow wine) is the penultimate match. Certain aromas like dried citrus fruits, walnuts and curry, found in the wine are similar to those in a good vieux (aged) Comté, which explains the amazing accord between the two. It is quite astounding as a matter of fact! 

That being said, it is pretty hard to find outside of the area, but there is a festival held each year in February called La Percée du Vin Jaune (The Opening of the Yellow Wine) that gives people the opportunity to experience the newly released vintage in situ. The crucial piece of information about this rare wine is that legal requirements for aging mean that the vintage being sampled will be from the autumn harvest seven years earlier. Tasting sessions take place in a different regional village each year and have attracted over 30,000 visitors to imbibe this gem.

So what is this wine le Vin Jaune ?  It is a white wine produced in Eastern France, specifically the Jura.  It is similar to dry fino or Amontillado sherry but it isn't a fortified wine like sherry.  It is made from a late harvest Savagnin grape which grows in the area. The wine gets its character from being matured in barrels under a film of yeast, known as the voile, (the veil) which develops on the wine's surface. This is sort of like the "flor" in Sherry production, and takes between two to three years to develop. The characteristic yellow colour and nutty flavours of the wine develop as it oxidizes and ages in the barrel. Some of the most premium examples coming from the marl based vineyards in the Château-Chalon AOC. In other French wine regions, notably Gaillac, vintners have been experimenting with similar style wines made from Chardonnay and other local grape varieties using cultured yeast.

The Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) regions permitted to produce vin jaune include Château-Chalon AOC, Arbois Vin Jaune AOC, Cotes du Jura vin Jaune AOC and Vin Jaune de L'Etoile.  Some adventurous winemakers in Gaillac have produced the vin de voile wine, which is similar in style but made mainly from Chardonnay grapes and cultured yeast. 

Other pairings suggested are:

Whites "floral" wines:  These work especially well with vieux Comté but also with the more lactic based younger ones highlighting their butter, caramel aromas.

Red wines:  Vieux Comté pairs very well with red wines of the Jura called the Rubis du Jura which are lighter in structure with a high degree of finesse.

Sparkling wines: A grand harmony is created between crumbly texture and mellow flavours of Comté and the Crémant du Jura (sparkling wines of the Jura), which tend towards the sweeter side of sparkling wines.


Casse-croûte de copains aux morilles et Comté

8 large slices of pain de campagne (Polaine for instance)
100 g of dried morels
250 g de Comté grated
5 cl de Vin Jaune
25 cl cream
40 g de butter
1 shallot, chopped fine
Salt, pepper & some branches of chives

Soak the dried morels (or other dried mushrooms) half an hour in hot water. Cut each of them in half lengthwise to clean them. Drain well. Sauté the chopped shallot in 20 g butter, then the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add the cream and reduce heat to low and add the grated cheese and wine.

Preheat the oven to grill at 210 ° C (gas mark 7). Fry the bread slices in 20 g of butter on both sides. Then spread each slice with the morel and Comté cream, which must be very smooth. Toast the bread in the oven until golden brown. Sprinkle a few chopped chives and serve hot. Suggested Wine: These toasts with the Vin Jaune wine  (pour 8 friends)

Recipe from :

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Gardeners or slaves of France - The life of French milk farmers today

The reporter extraordinaire Harry Roselmack from TF1 (French TV), provided a look into the dire status of the independant French milk farmers with his show on January 25th - Harry Roselmack avec les résistants du monde paysan (Harry Roselmack with the Peasant Resistance). He spent several weeks with a group of diary farmers from the region of Ille-et-Vilaine in Brittany to better understand their life, the hardships they face and the little publicized fact that suicide amongst them are soaring, with more than 400 dead per year and many giving up their ancestral farms because they can not continue to pay to work on them.

The gist of the program was the paradox that while these farmers, once respected as 'les jardiniers (gardeners) de la France' providing food for the country,  they frequently can barely provide for their families.  They now believe they have become nothing more than 'les esclaves (slaves) de la France'. These people work 12 - 18 hour days, 7 days a week with rarely any time off and no benefits.  Prices for their production fell more than 30% in one year, all while operating expenses tripled. To wake up every day knowing you will once again be in the red, can not be easy, and yet being a farmer is not a job, it is a way of life, so difficult to give up.

This life is a far cry from the cushy one, as one of these farmers called it, enjoyed by those workers who populate the ranks of France's syndicats (unions). To hear one farmer say he would be 'thrilled if he could at least earned the SMIC (minimum wage)' was pretty heartbreaking.  It was worst to know that a huge percentage of them are and have not been profitable for years and borrow money just to keep their animals feed.  And with the price of milk not keeping pace with the cost of operation, large numbers of these farmers are being forced to give up their farms, many having been past down for generations; the statistics were pretty grim. In 2000, there were 120,000 milk farmers in France, today there are only 85,000.

This year, the drought has created yet more difficulties for them and even with the recent augmentation in the cost per litre, they will continue to live well below the poverty line. To be sure, it is a complicated situation, one that is similar, I am sure in other industrialized countries. The milk producers are at the bottom of the pile, with the cooperatives or processors and then the distributors above them. But the large cooperatives, who produce the milk products made five times what the average farmer made last year, so it begs the question of fairness.

The frustration of these proud people was palpable. A group of them have decided to revolt against this system of pricing that does not take into account the reality of their work production.  Four of them went on a hunger strike late last year with the hope of calling attention to their plight.  Try and find a link to have news of their status...good luck. The press largely ignores them, until of course they decide to dump their milk in the streets in front of a ministry. No wonder they feel no one is either listening nor cares, least of all the consumer or politicans.

An equitable resolution of what is fair for the producer all the way up to the consumer is the question. But as one farmer said, those who govern need to understand that the old adage of 'Le paysan ne cri pas quand il y en mal, il meurt en silence parce qu’il a la dignité (the peasant doesn't cry out when they hurt, they die in silence because they have dignity) was no longer going to be the case. The slaves of France were going to rise up and demand their respected place in the country and be paid fairly for their labours.  On verra...

Note Bene:  The look on Harry's beautiful face while two farmers at 1 in the morning were trying to pull a new calf out of the womb of it's mother, with great difficulty, was priceless.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Wrapping Cheese - The Professional Way

© 2010 CheeseToast Inc.
Even before I worked in a cheese shop, I wanted to know how to wrap cheese...perfectly & professional.  A recent article in Culture Magazine - Wrap Like A Pro regarding this very subject arrived  with instructive pictures! 

There also is a link to formaticum the people who make great cheese paper in the US which has a video and while no professional fromager in France would ever use tape, it is worth checking their site out.   
Pyramids, cylinders, rounds, triangles & asymmetricals (the hardest of shapes)  -  They're all here in this great article. It is an art, one that must be practiced to be learned and perfected. So for those of you that are into precision and flawlessness, this article is your ticket.