On Tuesday afternoon I went on a tour led by Meg from the parisbymouth blog. It was a taste bud party! We went to two stores one was named Androuet they buy cheese from farms around France and age them in their shop. We bought ten cheeses from this store one of them was some brie de meaux made on a 7th generation family run farm where the women make the cheese and the men tend to the animals. It was one of the nicest cheese I have ever tasted. We also had some cheese with a sliver of black truffle in the middle that was delicious . I discovered I am quite partial to cheese made from “Rove” goats. The cheese made from the milk from these goats was very lemony and yummdiddlio. I will be hunting out some more before I leave Paris.
We then went for a bit of a walk and came to another cheese store named Barthelemy it is run by a group of very earnest but friendly women. Their cheese shop was like a toy store for adults. It just felt magical
I will definitely try my best to get back there.
We then went for a bit more of a walk to a cave named Le Derniere Goutte and went and sat n their back room and prepared ourselves to try all the cheeses we had bought with some matched wines from the wine store.There was a young man from New Zealand from the store explaining the wines to us. I should have written down the names of the wines but Meg is kindly emailing us with all the details of the wines and the cheeses. It was a really fun tour. Meg was very friendly and welcoming she lacked the arrogance that the champagne tour guide had. Meg’s blog is very successful it gets half a million hits per month. It is a wealth of information on things to do in Paris. I have been avidly reading it and it was very nice to meet her.
On the way to the tour an elderly woman tried pull the ring scam on me. She was very persistent in an non obtrusive way. Yelling out MADAM MADAM as I walked away. Bron 1-Gypsy 0
Edit here are the cheeses and wines we enjoyed
- Saint-Nicolas (goat, Languedoc, 2-3 weeks) – produced by monks who live off the land, this fresh cheese expresses flavors of the thyme, rosemary and lavender that the goats are grazing on outside the monastery.
- Mont Ventoux (goat, Provence, 2-3 weeks) – this young fresh cheese has been formed into a cone with its base dipped in ash to resemble the mountain in northern Provence.
- Pavé de la Ginestarie (goat, Midi-Pyrénées, one month) – a square shaped and very runny goat cheese with a nice hit of salt.
- Rovethym (goat, Provence, 3 weeks) – a pretty little goat’s cheese from Provence flavored with thyme and decorated with a branch of the herb.
- Brie de Meaux AOC (cow, Ile-de-France, 6-8 weeks) – can taste of mushrooms, earth, wet leaves, mushrooms sauteed in butter, mushroom soup made with beef stock, or oysters. Some longer-aged versions have a strong ammonia smell which a few connoisseurs like. Hand-ladled usuing a perforated ladle (dates back to 12th century) that allows the curds to be transported to the mold unbroken in order to achieve the smooth, voluptuous custard-like interior.
- Brie de Melun AOC (cow, Ile-de-France, 7-8 weeks) – the coagulation of curds is slower (over 18 hours) than with Brie de Meaux because this cheese relies less on rennet and more on lactic fermentation. Flavor can vary wildly by the season, but it is usually more salty, meaty, savory and sometimes metallic and bitter when compared to Brie de Meaux.
Double and triple creams
- Brillat-Savarin (cow, Normandy/Burgundy, aged 2-4 weeks): this triple cheese is named after the food writer Anselme Brillat-Savarin – the version we had was stuffed with truffles.
UNCOOKED PRESSED CHEESES
- Ossau-Iraty (sheep, Basque Pyrénées, usually 8-17 months but our version from Barthelemy was aged extra long to 24 months) – this crowd-pleaser is nutty and salty, becoming more compact and concentrated with age. A version produced by the Agour cooperative was awarded the title “meilleur fromage du monde” last year in the World Cheese Awards against 2700 competing cheeses.
- Napoléon (sheep, Basque Pyrénées, usually 10-14 months) – a cheese with a tender texture and nutty flavor.
COOKED PRESSED CHEESES
- Comté AOC (cow, Jura, usually 6-36 months – we tasted 18 and 24 months) – has a firm and supple texture that melts in the mouth and leaves a sweet taste (95% of cows used for this cheese are Monbeliarde, known for their sweet milk; the rest are Simmental). Can taste of melted butter, milk chocolate, hazelnuts, toast, leather, pepper, butterscotch, sweet orange. Strong salt but balanced with a nutty tang. This cheese has the highest production figures of all French cheese. Graded on a scale of 1-20. Those that score 15-20 wear a green band, those from 12-15 wear a red band. Below three can’t be labeled Comte. Aged for a minimum of 3 months but can be aged up to five years, although 18, 24, 30 and 36 are more common.
WASHED RIND CHEESES
- Epoisses AOC (cow, Burgundy, 4-6 weeks) – this recipe was based on Maroilles, the first washed rind cheese created around 960 AD. Monks were forbidden meat on fast days, and with more than 100 of these per year, not to mention compulsory fish on Fridays, cheese was an essential part of their diet. Washed with Marc de Bourgogne, a brandy made from pressed grapes (like Grappa), the rind has a terracotta color and is sticky. The aroma is reminiscent of smelly socks and the taste is meaty, eggy, salty and rich with a long finish.
- Soumaintrain (cow, Burgundy) supple, clay-like texture and a flavor reminiscent of Epoisses (meaty, eggy, salty, but less so), also washed with Marc de Bourgogne)
- Fourme d’Ambert AOC (cow, Auvergne, 2-3 months) aka Fourme de Montbrison – one of the mildest of all blue cheeses with a rich and creamy texture. Dates back to the 8th century.
WINES FROM LA DERNIERE GOUTTE
- “L’Appetillant” sparkling Montlouis sur Loire from Bertrand Jousset in the Loire Valley (grape: Chenin Blanc)
- “Clos de Briords” Muscadet from the Domaine de la Pépière in the Loire Valley (grape: Melon de Bourgogne)
- “Les Fontenelles” from Philippe Gourdon in the Loire Valley (grape: Chenin Blanc)
- “Savignin de Voile” Cotes du Jura from the Domaine Labet in the Jura mountains (grape: Savignin)
- Cuvée Vielles Vignes Brouilly from the Domaine de la Grand’Cour in the Beaujolais region (grape: Gamay)