Just before Christmas, we stopped in at the Caves de Bailly where we annually stock up on Crémant de Bourgogne, Irancy, Ratafia, and Crème de Cassis. It’s literally a journey into the center of the earth, and even in the summer months, it’s best to go wine-tasting there with an extra sweater (or deux) to keep you nice and warm, as the temperature remains a wine-friendly too-cool-for-comfort all year round. At Christmas, deep beyond the tasting area, there’s a market that winds its way through the deep, dank passageways, lit by tiny white lights and the warm lamps of individual vendors. Handicrafts, fine angora wools, and local foods line the tunnels.
This year, I gave my personal “most beautiful” prize to the organic cheeses—each more spectacular than the last—propped one against the other like common objects of no particular notice. No doubt dripping with flavor on the inside, they were crusted on the outside with the most spectacular array of mold and crud. Deep ochres, ambers, aubergines. Cinder-color, blue, and black. Like geodes from the earth itself, beautiful-ugly lumps of splendiferous yum. Our haul? An organic Tomme de Chèvre and something else quite delicious whose name I have already misplaced in the messy attic (or is that a wine cellar?) of my mind.
This seems an excellent time to introduce you to another friend’s blog: Domaines & Terroirs. Here you’ll learn more about French cheeses than I could ever hope to tell you. Happy tasting, and happy holidays.