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Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Julie with cleaned Piment d'Espelette peppers

With cleaned Piment d’Espelette peppers

About this time last year, while traveling through the Pyrenees mountains, Valerie, Ihsan and I stopped for a few days to pay a visit to the small farm that produces one of our favorite products: Piment d’Espelette AOC. Piment d’Espelette (translation: peppers from Espelette) are bright red peppers grown in the town of Espelette and 9 surrounding communes. These peppers have a delicate, sweet-fruity flavor and a medium spiciness, a little milder than your average jalapeño. They’re most often sold dried, whole or pulverized into a flaky powder. (more…)

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Sainte-Maure Belgique

Sainte-Maure Belgique

There are a few things one learns pretty quickly as a cheesemonger. Among them are that brebis generally come from the Pyrenées and small-format goat cheeses are closely associated with the Loire Valley. Of course, there are exceptions but, as general rules, these guidelines have served me pretty well. (more…)

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Persillé de Tignes

It’s sad to say, but farmstead cheeses are disappearing in France. As the cheese buyer for Formaggio Kitchen, I do what I can to make sure this does not happen. This is why I feel compelled to highlight the last remaining producer of Persillé de Tignes and to share my love of this cheese. (more…)

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Farm sign at the Burgat's Alpage homeThe evening light was fading as we ascended the mountain up to the Burgats’ alpage home outside of Manigod. With every turn that the car made, the views got even more splendid. Darkening clouds provided a sense of atmosphere and the cool air was deliciously fresh. Pulling up to the Burgats’ farmhouse, the sun was just about to disappear and the warm, yellow glow from inside their home was a welcome sight. (more…)

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Comté aging at Fromageries Marcel PetiteThis has been a good year for cheese at Formaggio Kitchen. We were lucky enough to visit several producers — both old friends and new acquaintances — who are sending us some incredible cheeses. Throughout the holidays, as family and friends come to town, or as you pack for a trip of your own, be sure to have a good selection of cheese on hand for simple snacking or to create an elegant cheese course. For help finding just the right cheese, here are a few highlights from our recent trips. (more…)

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Marcel Petite Comté samplerComté is an alpine cheese produced in the Jura mountain range of France. After our first opportunity to taste this great cheese with French affineur Marcel Petite, we brought in not one, but three ages of Comté so we could demonstrate the remarkable flavor development that occurs over time. Since that fateful first visit, we’ve gone on to establish the most complete collection of Marcel Petite Comté in the country, with cheeses ranging in age from 8 months to 36 months. (more…)

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En route to ArboisDavid, Mary and I arrived in Geneva early on a crisp October morning and, after collecting our rental car, set off for the town of Arbois, crossing the border from Switzerland into France. It was a beautiful ride along steep, sinuous mountain roads. (more…)

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