Wednesday, December 19, 2007
"An artisan sheep’s milk blue cheese made in the Pyrenées mountains, ... Bleu des Basques has a wonderful combination of earthy spiciness and hints of apricot." -Artisanal Cheese
Bleu de Basques is another brebis cheese from the southwest of France. Believing that I had discovered something lovely and delicious in all Basque brebis cheeses, I put my faith into buying a 250 gram slice of blue brebis at the local supermarket.
I have been a fan of blue cheese and its spicy flavor since I lived in Lyon a couple years ago, but sometimes the smell still gets to me. Surprisingly, many cheeses can have a horrible stench, but still have a delicate taste. (Muenster is one of those.)
To put it nicely, this blue brebis smells like rotten fish. Unfortunately, I am having trouble getting the smell out of my head when I taste the cheese. In large quantities, its taste reminds me too much of its smell; it is musty and salty, with a bit of creaminess. As it has been aging, we have been cutting it into smaller pieces and eating it with bread or crackers. Thankfully, this routine before dinner has allowed me to taste and appreciate the spicy, "blue" flavor, while not being overwhelmed by the odor. Although I have enjoyed trying this variety of blue cheese, I don't see myself buying it again. However, that doesn't mean I'm going to let it go to waste...
I don't know if it's possible to buy Bleu de Basque in the US, but it would make a wonderful appetizer at a dinner party. Cut into small pieces beforehand and placed on small, salty crackers, it would certainly please the fans of blue cheese.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Sounds pretty French to me. It's not
But that doesn't matter. This cheese is so delicious that anything jeopardizing its ultimate flavor must be prevented at all costs.
I had a chance to dig a spoon into this creamy white gold while visiting friends in
We have yet to buy some in Mont de Marsan, but I plan on finding it soon. They only make
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Since I live very close to Basque country, I constantly find Basque treats in most of the stores in my city. Like the delicious cheese I finally decided to taste, I have also enjoyed Basque Gateau (like a cherry pie), Basque sausages (a bit bloody), Basque-style dishes (lots of tomatos), and Basque beer. It seems that sheep and black cherries are specialties in this part of France and Spain, so I am looking forward to trying some black cherry jam, preferably homemade. So far, the Brebis is my favorite of all the Basque treats I've stumbled upon.
It's saltier than the other cheeses I like, which adds variety to my life, but also reminds me of the comfort of aged cheddar from home. I try not to shovel it into my mouth; instead, I eat little pieces with crackers. Dave and I have been enjoying it as an aperitif before we start cooking dinner. A little plate with some crackers, bread, peanuts, and brebis warms me up, especially when accompanied by a glass of red wine. I'm glad I have finally started to see the genius of the French aperitif!
The other day, we stepped into a small Basque store around the corner from our apartment. The man had aged brebis, mixed brebis and chevre cheese, mixed brebis and cow milk cheese, a bunch of different sausages, and other Basque specialties. We had just bought a block of brebis from the supermarket, but next time, we will certainly go to this man for our brebis.
I would recommend this cheese to anyone, even if they don't particularly like cheese. (Just take a lactaid pill beforehand, if lactose-intolerant. I promise! It's worth it.)
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Thus, if you find any interest in what I just stated above, have a look at the other entries and please return for a visit.