A love of fromage

From a very young age I loved cheese. I was a fussy eater as a kid, and consequently quite skinny.  But the few things I did like to eat were fruit, chicken and cheese.  Lots of cheese.

We’d go on holidays to an all-inclusive resort in Queensland where incredible buffets were available 3 meals per day. On these holidays I got to know the man behind the cheese counter very well, sampling any and all of the exotic (for a seven year old anyway) cheeses on offer.  The only cheese I wasn’t game to try was the smelly blue preferred by my Granddad.  (My how things have changed!)

I guess you could say that from an early age, I was destined for France.

Often billed as the country with a different cheese for each day of the year, fromage is an integral part of everyday French life. It holds it’s own as a course in restaurants and extensive, well-considered cheese selections are presented for special occasions en famille.

That said, the average French household doesn’t like to wait for someone’s birthday or Christmas to roll around, and less elaborate cheese courses form a part of their daily ritual.  Many will have a plate or Tupperware container tucked away in the fridge with an ever-rotating selection (usually 3-4) of cheeses at any given time.

I delighted in this practice, gleeful in the knowledge that it was permissible in this wonderful country to eat a little cheese and bread at the conclusion of every evening meal if I wished.  I’ve even been known to forgo dessert, instead indulging in a second slither of brebis or coulommiers.  Okay, perhaps I didn’t forgo dessert completely, but I did eat just one square of chocolat noir instead of my usual three or four.

Since returning to Australia I’ve tried to keep this habit alive, and routinely keep 2 or 3 varieties on hand ‘just in case’.  Currently, my fridge contains remnants of an Australian vintage cheddar, a creamy and pungent délice de Bourgogne, some Swiss gruyère, a sharp jarlsberg and for some inexplicable reason, 3 different forms of parmesan.

What cheese is in your fridge?

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French cheeses image courtesy of Zeetz Jones on Flickr.
Fromage de vache image courtesy of peter.cipollone on Flickr.
Assiette de fromage image courtesy of fritish on Flickr.

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2 thoughts on “A love of fromage

  1. Like you I was a fussy eater as a kid (not skinny though) and I’m still very picky when it comes to food (although I have improve lots!). I do keep a few different cheese in my fridge but buy mainly Australian made ones which are more affordable. I usually keep brie, swiss cheese, mature cheddar and chèvre (for salade de chèvre chaud). I eat cheese almost every day but o miss my bread to go with it. Also I find weird that Australian serve a cheese platter before the meal when entertaining guests. And I hate crackers.

    • Thanks Mademoiselle, and yum – I love salade de chèvre chaud, but I struggle to find goats cheese at the right maturity, so it holds its shape when cooking (what’s your secret??).

      It can indeed be difficult without affordable, delicious fresh baguettes on every corner, and with every meal in a restaurant. Although I grew up with crackers and happen to adore them!

      Whenever we had a French-Australian-American group together for apero, the French would always look shocked that we could easily start the evening with a cheese plate. For me, I love cheese so much I don’t mind whether it is an afternoon snack, after dinner or a meal all by itself 🙂

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