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Thursday, 7 June 2007

The Joy of Brie

De Gaulle asked " How can you govern a country with two hundred and forty six varieties of cheese?". The Joy of Cheese is one of the great glories of France; the terroir, the weather, the altitude, the livestock are all captured in those delicious regional varieties. One can journey from Flanders to the Pyrenees, from Brittany to Alsace on a cheeseboard. As I write I am almost salivating at the remembered forest-floor taste of Saint-Nectaire and the salty bite of ripe Roquefort. We Brits have learned to love French cheese; Brie de Meaux and Camembert are even sold in polystyrene ersatz versions in British supermarkets. I am prepared to forgive French farmers almost anything for standing up to the supermarkets and big distributors, for making cheeses in farm kitchens in which poultry roam at will, for wisps of hay on the rind, for using raw milk still warm from the udder.

But perhaps Nanny's reach extends now even unto
La France Profonde. The Telegraph reports today that Camembert may disappear from the world. No, not the plastic pasteurised tasteless stuff from Tesco, but the real raw cheese made from raw milk. The cheese that glistens and bulges from its rind on the cheeseboard, a living small God of microbacterial activity, an irresistible meal-end squidge. This is a threat to our common human heritage every bit as great as that of a Taliban with a stick of gelignite and a Buddha statue in sight.

Cheese lovers of Britain unite! Let the Joy of Brie and Camembert be unconfined!


Newmania said...

I missed this R but we will be enjoying our plastic Camembert whilst being reminded that the accompanying tipple will probably kill us courtesy of the Harridan Caroline Flint.
An odd coagulation of many things is beginning to form in my fevered brain R. The removal of taste risk , decision responsibility it all seem to want us to stay as children . If an alien were secretly wishing to eat us I wonder if this isn`t the sort of placid sleek brainless and unspirited people he might prefer. Sleeping babies grown grotesquely fat on processed goo . So much easier to persuade to step into the space ship to go to ‘the feasting’

Guthrum said...

Just smuggled some of the good stuff back from Guthrum acres and some genuine Calvados du pays

Ed said...

I once visited the village of Camembert and it was a great little place. The woman (English!) who ran/runs the Camembert vistor centre said you should never buy an appellation controlee Camembert because it's so expensive to meet the standards that only the large boring suppliers can manage it. The local farmers make their renegade cheese which is much better.

Little Black Sambo said...

Can any one explain why the French drink almost exclusively disgusting "long life" milk? And I believe restaurants are not allowed to serve any other kind.