Apr 10

Eating fromage in Paris (part 1)

FT + Pumpkin Publog2 comments • 316 views

Paris is fantastic for the cheese-obsessed. It’s littered with cheese shops vending a huge variety of French cheeses (and a tiny smattering of imported ones).

Bleu d’Causses

This is a cow’s milk cousin of Roquefort, and it looks the part; a moist damp slab of cheese riddled with big greeny-grey pockets of mould. It might be a tad yellower than a Roquefort, but that’s the biggest difference in appearance.

It tastes spicy and salty and intense, numbing my mouth and ruining my tastebuds for the next cheese. The texture’s buttery and smooth. The rind tastes less fiercely blue, and is slightly pungent with unexpected peachy flavours.

FT’s very own Pete declares that it ‘tastes like Big Mac special sauce – in a good way’. (I, of course, have never tasted Big Mac special sauce.)

Brie de Melun

We’ve met this cheese before, but I don’t see it in London very often, and I wanted my Brie-ambivilent partner-in-cheesing to taste it. Our slice has a white-fuzzed mould exterior, with hints of damp orange emerging underneath it. Inside, the paste is soft and silky.

It tastes hearty – meaty and mushroomy. There’s a touch of vegetal bitterness, a good saltyness, and lots of sweet dense fudgey flavours. It’s fruity; plummy, but with a bright hint of sharp green apples. My cheesy companion likes it better than the average Brie.

Crottin of Mystery

This is a round of goats cheese (crottin translates directly to ‘little dropping’), covered in a very pale grey-green mould. It’s dense and goaty, very salty and surprisingly savoury. It’s smooth in my mouth, with a tang that reminds me of cheddar, but it prickles the back of my throat with spiky, nettley needles.

(I’m know that this cheese has a name beyond just Crottin, but my note-taking suffers when I get too excited by the surfeit of cheese, and the receipt has long disappeared.)


Another goats cheese, our slice of Aiguebelette is a pale yellow, and slightly translucent, covered in an intensely bright yellow mould. The rind is slightly crumbly. It tastes bitter; of dense damp undergrowth, composted greenery, and stagnant pools covered in algae bloom and pondweed. In contrast, the paste is mild and very gently sweet and floral, with an elusive subtle tang. Between the bitter rind and the sweet centre, there’s a layer of cheese that tastes of twigs.

I can’t recall the name of the beast that causes the bright yellow rind on this cheese, but it’s unique to alpine cheeses, I believe, and I’ve met it before on a Tomme Crayeuse.  (And comparisons with pondweed aside, I think this my favourite of these cheeses.)


  1. 1
    Tracer Hand on 22 Apr 2010 #

    A cheap version of Thousand Island dressing (there’s a phrase to give you nightmares), McDonald’s special sauce is, more or less, IIRC, mayo, ketchup and mustard mixed together with a fork. Or its industrial equivalent.

  2. 2
    thefatgit on 22 Apr 2010 #

    Yes, the more orangey in colour, the more vinegary the flavour. At least 3 of my local kebab vans do “burger sauce”, emulating that Big Mac condiment we know and love. It tastes ridiculous on a kebab, but on a cheeseburger with lettuce and jalapenos, at 3am after a heavy night of pubbing and clubbing, it strokes the sweetspot!

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