Wednesday, January 23, 2008


"Roquefort, or similar style cheese, is mentioned in literature as far back as AD 79, when Pliny the Elder remarked upon its rich flavor." -Kindersley, French Cheeses

Dave's brother visited us in Mont de Marsan for a few days. Saturday morning we went to the market and bought two types of cheese to share with him: Mont d'or and Roquefort. I've already discussed the former; we all enjoyed it. I have to mention we asked for a "light" Roquefort. It's easier for someone to taste when they've never tried real blue cheese before. His brother is a big fan of cheese, so I made sure he tried all the big ones: chevre sec, brebis, Camembert, Mont d'or, and Roquefort. I'm such a good hostess.

I stole this from Wikipedia because it makes this cheese's past interesting and helps illustrate how the Frenchman's mind works: "Legend has it that the cheese was discovered when a young shepherd, eating his lunch of bread and ewes' milk cheese, saw a beautiful girl in the distance. Abandoning his meal in a nearby cave, he ran to meet her. When he returned a few months later, the mold had transformed his plain cheese into roquefort." Roquefort is such an essential part of French food that they have fables about its creation and have the tools preserved in museums that Roquefort-makers used centuries ago.

I used to hate blue cheese, including Roquefort, up through the time I lived in Lyon with a French family. After numerous nights of heckling and pressuring by many French peoples, the cheese began to grow on me like the blue mold that gives it that special tang. Even when I returned to the U.S., I was still not a fan of Roquefort and other blue cheeses. But, like with beer and wine, I've grown more accustomed to the spiciness of Roquefort. And when I am in the mood for a taste that it can only offer, I am very happy to be in France within close reach of true, delicious, and inexpensive Roquefort.

This slice of cheese is perfect! It has the usual kick, but not so much that you feel you're eating metal; it doesn't overpower the creaminess. They must not have aged this cheese for long (6 weeks or so). I'm sure there are certain "correct" ways to eat Roquefort, but I ate some with almonds tonight. They complemented the cheese well. A little bit on a piece of fresh baguette, then chased with a couple almonds. Delish! When slightly salty, creamy brebis isn't enough to satisfy your lust for tasty cheese, I suggest a wedge of tangy Roquefort.

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