Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Little French Lesson...

I got the most amazing nugget of cheese on Saturday at the Cheese Shop. I'd gotten a hunk of my favorite Roaring 40s Blue from King Island, Australia for dessert and asked Tony if he could suggest a "main course" cheese to go with it. He hands me this little hunk of love called Reblochon. This washed rind cheese comes from the Savoie region of France - near the border of Switzerland and Italy. Even though it is part of the "stinky cheese" club, it is a great cheese to share with your stink-a-phobe friends. Another fabulous cheese from this area is Beaufort (see Aug. 23 post). Amazing things come from these mountain pastures, and the cows that make the milk for Reblochon are no exception!

According to Steve Jenkin's Cheese Primer, the word Reblochon might come from the word reblessa (French Savoyard slang for to steal or swipe). In the bad old days, you would milk your cow, but then you'd have to give everything you milked to the taxman and/or over-lord. Bummer, right? But if you were clever, you'd fake like you'd gotten all the milk possible out of Bessie, only to go back after the bad guys left to milk her for yourself. Sneaky, right? And the best news is that for whatever reason, the second milking would result in even richer milk with higher butterfat! Whoo Hoo!

This cheese has the most wonderful texture. Smooth and soft, but confident and not goopy. The rind is brine washed, so it has that distinctive smelly-ness, but not so much that you're worried about what is going on your cracker. It has just enough saltiness, and is so rich, with just a little nuttiness. It tasted great with the Pinot Noir we had open, but I bet it would have been even better with a bigger wine. The DH and I could have kept eating, but I knew I had artichoke ravioli with a ricotta/pepper sauce coming out next. Plus, now I have enough left over to have for "Cheese for a Wednesday Night!"

So, don't "reblessa" any of this amazing Reblochon, but keep an eye out, and enjoy whenever you can!

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