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- Jerry D Mead - 01-05-1999 04:34 PM

FROMAGES I love French wine. I love French cuisine. I love French bread.
But I think the thing I love most about France is French cheese and the tradition of presenting the cheese cart between the main course and the sweet dessert. And this is not just at fancy white tablecloth restaurants, it's everywhere. One never leaves any wine undrunk when there is a cheese course.
Recreating that wonderful tradition here is not easy. Restaurants don't sell enough cheese to warrant stocking it and because most of the European cheeses that reach these shores are pasteurized they just don't taste the same. Pasteurized cheese just does not taste the same as naturally fermented cheese made from raw milk, be it cow's, goat's or sheep's milk. If the label on your French cheese says "au lait cru," you've got the real thing.
I recently discovered an Internet website for a cheese company in France that will overnight parcels of natural raw milk cheeses to anywhere in the U.S. It is not inexpensive, with the airfreight and all, but if you get to craving a great piece of cheese as I do some times, then neither is it all that expensive as an occasional special treat. I like to think I'm worth it; my significant other knows that she is.
The order I placed left France on a Thursday, arrived here in perfect condition on a Friday morning around ten, and with a couple of locally produced baguettes and a bottle of good California wine became our entire dinner. (My personal favorite was the Epoisse, a high butter-fat, strongly flavored semi-soft from Burgundy.)
The website is: http://www.fromages.com, and it has not only an order form, but a directory of French cheeses with basic descriptions of each one, information on how to care for cheese, how slice or cut the different types and more.


- Botafogo - 01-05-1999 07:39 PM

Jerry, this is a good rant but I think you should put it up on the "Ads & Promotions" board too so more people see and act on it. You know, I always open my beginners wine classes by asking "Can anyone name another agricultural product made by fermenting a naturally occuring liquid that also has hundreds of varieties, AOC control and such?" When someone finally pipes up with "Cheese!" I ask "So how come no one is auctioning off wheels of Camembert or Parmigiano-Reggiano at Sothebies?" Because, unlike wine, you can't catch a buzz from it so we've had to invent this whole pseudo religion around wine to justify pounding a few glasses!

Cheers, Roberto


- Jerry D Mead - 01-06-1999 07:16 AM

Not to mention that cheese doesn't generally speaking age and improve for eons.

It could have gone in Ads & Promos, I suppose, but since I was raving about cheese (and not really advertising or promoting...because I have no financial interest)this seemed the place.

You have noticed the name change to Rants AND Raves...

TBC


- Roberta - 01-06-1999 08:41 PM

I don't know how close you are to Canada but I'd go there for cheese since they don't have the same laws as we do.

Unpasturized cheeses are allowed into the US if they've been aged longer than a certain number of days.

Another thing you could do is find a restaurant that has exceptional cheeses and talk to the cheese buyer. Sometimes they'll sell you what they have access to.