Made From Raw Sheeps’ Milk

The third featured bleu cheese in the “Send Marcella to France” contest is the quintessential of French Bleu Cheeses: Roquefort. The first AOC-designated cheese, Roquefort received this protection in 1925, was mentioned in history as early as 79AD when Pliny, the Elder, spoke of its rich flavor… who knew, I’d  follow in the steps of one of the great as I sit here today “mentioning Roquefort”…

Legend claims that Roquefort was discovered when a young man, eating a sheeps’ milk cheese sandwich, saw a lovely lass passing by… he abandoned the sandwich in the cave where he sat to chase the girl. Time passes, the boy returns to find that the cheese has molded and voila… Roquefort Cheese was born. It’s almost always about women or money with humankind of the male persuasion… why am I not surprised???

Today, Roquefort is the only bleu cheese still made using the mold grown on rye bread. The mold, Penicillium roqueforti, is found in the soil of the caves where the cheese is aged. The bread is molded for several weeks, ground up and injected into the cheese. It can be added to the curd or later as an aerosol injected into the aging cheese. One of the AOC rules is that this bleu cheese must be aged in the natural Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. 60% of Roquefort is produced by Societe and that is the brand that The Lady sells at her kiosk. Prior to the AOC-designation, a small amount of cow or goat milk was added to the cheese. Now, the cheese is made exclusively from the milk of Lacaune, Manech and Basco-Bearnaise breeds of sheep.

The Lady brought a modest wedge home that she served in two ways. The first was at room temperature and schmeared on French (naturally) bread and then the following day she served a simple romaine salad with Roquefort dressing and Confit of Chicken, sautéed fresh veggies with pasta. This chicken dish came along after watching Emeril Live on the CookingTV Channel, a favorite around the manse.

Roquefort’s veining is more green than “blue” and makes a dramatic presentation. Simply put, this cheese is just as pretty to look at as it is to consume… well, that may be a bit hyperbolic, but not by much. This cheese brings such pleasure to the palate: it starts mild, moves to sweet, then smoky and ends with a salty finish… it just doesn’t get any better than this…

I give Roquefort 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestion: Schmeared on French Bread makes a perfect way to start a meal. You can make a perfect salad dressing using Roquefort or you can add it to tarts, pasta sauces and if you really want to impress family or friends, use it for a specialty mac n cheese.

Wine Suggestion: The Lady served a favorite of hers, Chateau de Sancerre.

Beer SuggestionBrasserie Saison Fantome

Source: 100% Raw Sheeps’ Milk

Trivia: Before the discovery of penicillin, it was common for shepherds to apply this cheese to wounds to avoid gangrene.


The second featured bleu in the “Send Marcella to France” Cheese Contest is also from the Auvergne region of France.

This cheese is considered one of the oldest of cheeses, possibly dating back to the Druids. This cheese may have hung out at Stonehenge for all we know…

It is also one of the mildest of blues and for those who claim they “hate” blue cheese; this makes a good “starter” cheese into the wonderful world of bleus.

The naturally bloomy rind of this cylindrical cheese is gray with a strong, earthy smell. Inside, though, is a mild and delicate fruity paste. It is not as weepy as Bleu d’Auvergne but just as creamy with lots of blue veining. The Lady served this cheese with Dare Water Crackers and drizzled honey on top while Edith Piaf sang Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien in the background… BTW, I was familiar with Edith before Francophilia invaded the manse… now, some days I think I have become Edith Piaf… but I digress…

So revered is this cheese that a statue in the shape of Fourme d’Ambert graces the door of the Chapel at Chaulme in Auvergne. However, let’s be honest here, this cheese looks like a blue cheese log, the statue might be homage to the logging industry… just saying…

Like Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert is AOC protected earning this prestige in 2000, seventy-five years after the third bleu featured in the contest and the next cheese I will review, Roquefort.

Let me end this review with “Pour le peuple de Paris, aujourd’hui et à jamais, je suis français!!”

I give Fourme d’Ambert 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: This cheese goes well with chocolate, although The Lady refuses me to allow me to verify this pairing… but with honey and crackers, it is a winner. Personally, I find that it pairs well with Castor canadensis, especially the Oregon variety (with apologies to The Lady’s boss man, Rob…)

Wine Pairing: A glass of Port goes quite well with this cheese

Beer Pairing: Chocolate Stout and the world is perfect.

Source: Pasteurized Cow’s Milk

A few weeks ago, overnight The Lady became a Francophile: Traditional French Music began to fill the air on her days off, interrupted periodically by Champagne FM Radio streaming live from Paris. When quiet finally comes, she begins her French lessons online… I gotta say, when The Lady does something, she never does it halfway…

All because she hopes to be in Paris on July 25th with several of her fellow cheesemongers…

Lactalis France is sponsoring a French Cheese Contest… or as The Lady prefers to call it… The “Send Marcella to France Contest”…  my guess is everyone competing has a “similar” name for the contest… anyway, The Lady is determined to be a winner… God help The Man and me if she loses… living with her could get ugly… very ugly…

(Insert: as I write this The Lady is listening to a French Rapper on Champagne FM… cool, but The Lady doesn’t listen to American Rappers… sheesh…)

The first period of the contest features three exquisite French Bleus and I decided to re-visit these cheeses in tribute to The Lady:

All three of the bleus featured are from the Auvergne region of France which is Southeast of Paris. With the abundance of cows in the region, Auvergne is home to several of the world’s great cheeses: Roquefort, Fourme d’Ambert, Bleu d’Auvergne, Cantal and Saint Nectaire. It is also home to Michelin Tires; The Lady’s brother, Joel, worked for a subsidiary of Michelin and visited Auvergne several times.

Bleu d’Auvergne is the first bleu featured in period one of the French Cheese Contest… The Lady brought a small wedge home and a fresh baguette… French, of course… she schmeared the cheese on the baguette, The Man swooned and I rubbed her leg to make sure she knew I loved her best…

This is one tasty cheese; grassy with a hint of wildflowers. The rind is moist and sticky; the cheese weeps and the paste emits a strong odor… pleasant to some… for others… not so much… I love this cheese; I could eat it day in and day out… of course, I could eat most cheeses day in and day out… it’s my passion… that and chasing off the interloper that has taken to sleeping on the deck… the little tramp lets The Lady pet him and she feeds him… Houston, we have a problem… but I digress…

With the baguette, The Lady served slices of ripe pear and a few walnuts… the combination was divine…

I give Bleu d’Auvergne 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

You can read my original thoughts on Bleu d’Auvergne by clicking here.

Serving Suggestion: Schmeared on a baguette makes quite a nice snack; throw in a few slices of pears and nuts and it’s a feast. This cheese is also terrific as a dressing for a wedge of lettuce.

Wine Pairing: Port or Sauternes.

Beer Pairing: Weissbier

Source: Cow’s Milk

Up next: Fourme d’Ambert

And a word of advice to The Lady… if you start feeding cheese to that darn interloper… well… let’s just say… that would not be a wise thing to do…

Many thanks to TJ McGovern for designing the above “Feline Foodie Approved” Artwork.

This artwork will appear on all cheeses that I, your not-so-humble Feline Foodie, award 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

A big shout-out to my friend, Mary, and my East Coast Comrades that bivouac at her manse, for introducing TJ to my blog and his generous contribution to making it a better cheese stop on the internet.

BTW, I give TJ and his artwork 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got)!!

Brie de Meaux

March 13, 2011

I don’t know how she did it, but The Lady brought home a wedge of Brie de Meaux, a superior Brie generally produced only using raw milk. Perhaps she had a pasteurized version but after my tasting, good money says this cheese came in under the radar…

Made in the Brie region outside of Paris, Brie de Meaux is usually produced between July and March. This cheese is the quintessential example of the melding of Brie and Terroir. You can taste the earth and the floral in this divinely creamy cheese.

During production, casting is done manually and in thin layers using brie shovels. The wheels are turned by hand and ripened in cellars for about four weeks before they are ready for sale. This AOC-protected cheese reaches its “peak” between 7 and 9 weeks after manufacturing.

The Lady let the wedge sit for about 45 minutes before serving it to The Man and your not-so humble Feline Foodie. As you might guess, I had to go paw-to-paw with The Man to get my fair half-share. He’s not really into sharing… I find that to be annoying… The Lady thinks after all this time, I should be “used to ways of The Man”… sheesh…

This cheese is not only gorgeous with a hint of redin its paste which reminds of my favorite French cheese, Epoisses; it melts on the palate as the sweet, nutty earthiness of this cheese explodes in the mouth. You can taste mushroom and floral from the grass.

I give Brie de Meaux 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got) and urge you to get a wedge of this raw milk wonder… even if you have to fly to Paris…

Serving Suggestions: Keep it simple. Bread and wine… that’s all you need and all you would ever want.

Wine Pairing: You want a fruity Burgundy or a glass of champagne.

Beer Pairing: I wouldn’t but many would…

Source: Raw Cows’ Milk

Trivia: Brie and Camembert are the same cheese…

Suitable for Vegetarians

Whenever we review a cheese with “stuff” added, the comments are interesting. Some “cheese elites” tend to “poo poo” flavored cheeses; while the rest of us regular folks are inclined to go with the flow and enjoy the cheese with its added herbs, spices or fruits, etc. Now, don’t get me wrong, some of my BCFFs (Best Cheese Friends Forever) are “elites” and for the most part, they’re great folks… just a bit snobby when it comes to their cheese…

The Lady carries a Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese with cranberries added. This cheese is a huge seller during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, however, it continues to do well the rest of the winter season and tapers off as the weather warms. We have previously reviewed other Stilton cheeses with fruits.

The cheese is creamy, crumbly and mild; the cranberries are sweet, tart and pungent. The combination is not only pleasing to the palate but also eye-catching.

The Lady served this with thin slices of her homemade banana nut bread and as usual… The Man swooned… surprise…

I give Wensleydale with Cranberries 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: As a dessert cheese, you will win smiles. You can also crumble this cheese into salad with a simple balsamic and EVOO dressing.

Wine Pairing: Champagne or Port would pair nicely with this cheese.

Beer Pairing: A fruity ale.

Source: Pasteurized Cow’s Milk

 


The Lady and I agree that most reduced-fat cheeses also suffer from reduced taste; but not BeemsterLite. You’d never know it has 50% less fat than a regular Gouda… seriously this is a very tasty cheese.

The Lady brought a wedge home and I had to fight The Man paw-to-paw and if it weren’t for that opposable thumb “edge” I would have gotten more than a half share.

This cheese is nutty and sweet with a hint of the floral. Aged five months, BeemsterLite is a perfect cheese for those interested in taking a bit of fat out of their diet without any loss of flavor and enjoyment. The Lady served this tasty Gouda with a schmear of Vintner’s Kitchen’s Marionberry and Port Jam… as you might expect, it was yummy; The Man swooned.

This cheese has 90 calories per ounce as opposed to 120-130 in fattier cheeses. 50 of those calories are “fat calories”.

On a personal note, I imagine it is fun to live in the Beemster Polder; a place I have requested for my next assignment in the event The Brain re-deploys me in a future life. I hear that the Mighty Mike Tyson and Honorable Hemingway are frolicking there now and enjoying every day hanging out with the blue cows and chasing the blue mice… 

I give BeemsterLite 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: On a cheese board, you can “wow” your guests. This cheese would be great in a fondue and also make a lower caloric grilled cheese sandwich. It’s a versatile cheese… you can do most anything with it and it’ll be a hit!!

Wine Pairing: The Lady loves her reds and went with 14 Hands Hot to Trot.

Beer Pairing: The Man chose Thomas Hooker Munich Style Golden Lager.

Source: Those blue contented cows that frolic in the Beemster Polder.