Moldy goodness

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.

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9 Responses to Moldy goodness

  1. Ann Moore says:

    Amazing! They look like little pies or cookies. How big are they in diameter? thickness? And they also look absolutely yummy! Thanks much.

  2. ron says:

    we thought it was bread or muffins. blueberries that had leaked into the dough.

    then, once we realized it really was cheese, we wondered: do you have to cut the mold off or do you eat that part, too? (some moldy cheeses have edible mold, right? right? oh well, maybe we’ve been eating penicilin early in the process.)

    those french and their cheeses. wild. (now we feel gassy. gotta run!)

  3. Charlotte,

    I look forward to every post! Plugged your blog in my end of year blog at Happy New Year.

    Kenny Caldwell
    (Your mum’s friend)

    • Kenny, you don’t have to identify yourself! I KNOW who you are! I love your blog…but have had trouble subscribing for some reason…do you
      have to be a bloodspot blogger? Hmmmmm. “Is puzzlement” as my Mom would say. I also love your other, more personal blog. What a writer you
      are. As you can see, I am short on time to really write…posting quickly b/c other stuff is happening too fast and furious to allow for
      proper reflection. It comes in waves. Take care, and happy holidays.

  4. Debra Kolkka says:

    What fun it must have been there. Nice to hear from you.

  5. ceciliag says:

    Oh Charlotte I love the cruddy cheeses. You can’t imagine the horror out here if my cheeses get a wee spot of mould on them. ‘You will have to throw that out’ they say their noses wrinkling.. ‘like hell’ i respond! now I am off to check out your friend’s blog.. c

    • I used to be “afraid of mold”…so funny. You sort of grow out of it I guess. I had a butter story I wanted to tell you, which your blog brought to mind. My mother-in-law, who grew up during WW2 in France, hates to waste anything. One day, going through her fridge, I found some expired cream and I suggested she throw it away. (She needed reminders every now and then.) But she said, “No! It’s perfect for making butter.” I didn’t believe her. But a few hours later, she brought the butter to my house. How she’d agitated/churned it enough to make butter in her modern kitchen, I have no idea. But there it was. And quite tasty too. I then looked up butter-making on the internet, and was amazed to learn that, yes, it’s good to make with cream slightly past its prime. There’s a lot of old wisdom about food that we don’t “get” in more, in our bacteria-free, new-is-better world.

  6. Karen says:

    I have just discovered your blog and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. Isn’t it amazing that something that looks so strange on the outside can be so good on the inside. French cheese is just so delicious. I eat it every day when we visit Europe.

  7. Debbi Baron says:

    Hey Charlotte – Thanks so much for introducing Domaines & Terroirs. We love your blog and look forward to the email notice that there is another glimpse into another life.

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