Fromage, please, not cheese!

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Some time ago, I visited Deuxbydeux whose post Say Fromage, I enjoyed. It reminded me how recently, I was at my favourite cheese shop in Paris and bought one of those wonderful goat cheeses. With the fromager, we had a long talk about what Europe does to our cheese-makers and more generally producers.

Cheese shop
Just the goatcheese section!

It reminded me of one of the farmers at Deauville’s open-air market, who used to sell the best chickens on earth and the most wonderful fresh eggs.
A couple of years ago, to follow European guidelines, or whatever they call them, he had to buy a refrigerated if he wanted to go on selling his wonderful farm-made butter and double cream. So he did. As he is a really small producer, it represented a big investment for him.

Deauville market
You can see the refrigerated window in the background

Last year, European laws had it that producers had to mark all their eggs so that they could be traceable. It does seem to make sense, except that for the buyer, it doesn’t make much difference, since she can’t make heads or tail of what’s written on the egg.
Anyway, that was the coup de grâce for Mr R. who was already pretty old and decided he would stop his egg production.
Where do I go now to buy my eggs? Well, either I find a reliable farm and drive there, that is, when I am in Normandy, or, like most people, I get my eggs at the supermarket 😦

Now cheese. We are a country with hundreds of cheeses. But you in the States or outside France, have no idea what they actually taste like because you only get to taste the pasteurised kind, unless you taste them here. When I say not pasteurised, it doesn’t entail that the cheese is made in dirty or unhealthy conditions, it means that it’s made along age-old traditions, with all the advantages of modern cleanliness.
Maybe pasteurising is safer. But in the end, won’t all those pasteurised cheeses end up tasting all alike?
It would be too bad, wouldn’t it, and I hope I won’t live to see cheese platters like this one, disappear.

Cheese platter
Cheese plate composed by my cousin Chantal

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12 thoughts on “Fromage, please, not cheese!

  1. I didn’t taste much cheese when I was there last year, and I suppose I should have. Over here, cheese is not good for my tummy, so I have to eat small quantities. In Italy, the cheeses didn’t bother me at all, and I attributed that to the lack of preservatives. Perhaps the lack of Pasteurization also contributes to that.

  2. French cheeses – yummy.
    How right you are about not being able to taste them at their best elsewhere though.
    Some years ago, while on holiday in New York we ordered a selection of cheeses from a list which looked most impressive. I remember that I had included Morbier in the order because we had been talking about it. There was none on the platter.
    I asked the waiter to identify the cheeses he had brought as they bore no resemblance to those we had asked for. He couldn’t!!!

  3. How lovely!!!!! I love cheese and you’re right — except for minor variations it is hard to differentiate. Your cousin makes a lovely plate — so elegant in it’s simplicity!

  4. There are no cheeses like the wonderful ones I remember from a long time ago journey there. And this comes from a gal who grew up in the dairy area of Minnesota.

    I enjoyed your wonderful mouth-watering photos.

  5. Even the American government recognizes that pasteurisation is not absolutely necessary when it comes to cheese. If a raw-milk cheese has been aged for 60 days or more, it can be imported into the U.S. Less than 60 days and it has to be made with pasteurised milk.

  6. Okay….my salivary glands are in overload, after seeing all that fromage!
    And you are SO right, Claude, there is no comparison to the taste of cheese in France!
    Well, since the French seem to be way ahead of us on good health….NOW I can’t help but wonder if LACK of pasteurization accounts for BETTER health. Bravo to fromage!

  7. I’m drooling over that cheese platter. In America, we just call it a “cheese product” and let it go at that. All our food is over processed, which I think helps cause the obesity problem – 75% of Americans, it is said, are overweight. (That includes moi.)

  8. Claude, I laughed at your comment about your daughter. I am well over 60, as you know. My daughter says I am naive and way too trusting for my own good. I say that I am an excellent judge of character, especially after reading someone’s blog for more than a year!

  9. You are so right, Claude. I don’t even eat American-made cheese. I love the cheeses that I enjoyed in France. I am sorry that progress is making it way to complicated and expensive for people, like the long time chicken/egg man you wrote about, to stay in business. I was wrong – this is not progress. It must be regression. To enjoy natural foods is no longer the way of the “civilized” of world. A sad, sad statement.

  10. We are in the midst of a food revolution of sorts; we can get raw milk cheeses, made on small farms, in our local organic market.

    I am in the midst of reading the article Mother Pie recommends; do you think of Sartre as a “celebrity philosopher” as the article has him dubbed? Is the EU good for local food production??

  11. It is difficult for you city people when it comes to good ingredients. I have my own private source of eggs with my little flock. I think they’re the best eggs in the area. I hate having to buy them from the supermarket when my girls are “off lay”. You’re going to have to make friends with somebody in Normandy with a small personal flock.

    Here we can get some French cheeses for which I am grateful. There are some lovely cheeses made here in the UK but nothing can compete with French cheeses. We go a bit bananas when we get there to French shores, pounding on tables shouting “ENCORE DU FROMAGE”!!! We can also be heard to shout “ENCORE DU VIN” but that’s another story.

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