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Posts Tagged ‘France’

Marcel Petite Comté

As a child, I was an avid reader of Asterix and Obelix comics and there are a couple of images from the series that made an indelible mark. One was of Obelix furious and red in the face (I was always a little partial to Obelix) after Dogmatix had somehow been threatened. Another was of some poor, pathetic Roman who keeps losing his piece of bread in a large cauldron full of fondue. As the comic progressed (I think it must have been the one where Asterix and Obelix are in Switzerland), the cheese stretches all over the room and all over the partakers of the meal. That was my first image of fondue – it seemed fun, crazy and probably amazingly delicious. (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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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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Three Roqueforts: Vieux Berger (top left), Gabriel Coulet (bottom left) and Carles (right)

Three Roqueforts: Vieux Berger (top left), Gabriel Coulet (bottom left) and Carles (right)

We carry a number of AOC cheeses here at Formaggio KitchenÉpoisses, Langres, Comté and Fourme d’Ambert, to name a few.  As a result (and not surprisingly), one of the questions that we often field on the cheese counter is what the term AOC actually tells us about a given cheese.

AOC stands for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (translating to: Controlled Name of Origin) and is a designation of process and provenance that is used in France. There are equivalents of the AOC program in other countries – in Italy it is called DOC (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata) or DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta)*, in Spain it is called DO (Denominacion de Origen) and, in the EU as a whole, the designation is PDO** (Protected Designation of Origin). (more…)

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To us cheese nerds, Comté can become an obsession.

Perhaps best described as a French Gruyѐre, Comté seems to display a wider range of flavors than just about any other cheese we sell, and we enjoy delving into the nitty-gritty details of each wheel: its age, the location of the co-operative where it was made, and even the weather at the time the cows were milked. (more…)

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Cassis Rosé

I admit the name of this wine can be confusing. The bright pink liquid in this bottle has nothing to do with the fruit (black currant) or with the liqueur Crème de Cassis. Instead, this Cassis is the name of a pretty little town on the Cote d’Azur of Provence just between Marseille and Bandol. Cassis is also the name of the tiny wine appellation surrounding the town. This tiny A.O.C. encompasses only 490 acres (the Bordeaux A.O.C. is 150,000 acres!). Cool nighttime temperatures (thank you Mediterranean Sea!) and limestone soils give these wines a freshness and minerality that might be otherwise difficult to attain in such a warm place. (more…)

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Here at Formaggio Kitchen – despite our obvious allegiance to the Italian word “formaggio” – our dedication to French cheeses and other produits du terroir is the foundation for our entire selection. So, visiting France and meeting the folks who make the dozens of different products we regularly import is a special experience – kind of like when you visit a college friend at home and meet their parents, see their neighborhood.

Every two years, France hosts a huge fair in Paris, Salon de l’Agriculture, to celebrate the people and products that make up the country’s agricultural scene. Imagine eight convention centers, each with a different theme — one hall full of wine, another full of olive oil, and even one full of animals. It’s a giant country fair, complete with medals and honors – Paris-style.

We attended earlier this year specifically for the cheese show, Salon du Fromage. This particular salon is open only to industry professionals and is an opportunity for cheesemakers, affineurs and distributors to display their products and chat with clients. Cheese industry folks from all over the world crowd the hall to see what’s new and catch up with associates. We bounce from appointment to appointment: discussing packaging options for a new large-format Epoisses, for instance, then meeting with a cheesemaker from the Pyrénées to taste sheep cheese and learn about the new co-operative dairy they are building to support area shepherds.

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