It seemed like a good idea at the time, but let me tell you this whole caper is trying 365 cheeses in 365 days is no easy feat. Which is why I am celebrating milestones where I can.
What started as a simple catalogue of cheese i have eaten and the occasional good meal thrown in, has now evolved into something more – travelogue, food porn site, political commentary, restaurant review and general whingefest blog.
That’s the beauty of a blog I guess.
So the journey marks it’s first significant moment – my 100th cheese.
This tranche of cheese moments is brought to you by my friends at Grand Hyatt Muscat who not only have an entire table at their Friday brunch a couple of weeks ago dedicated to all things cheese, they also know how to show a gal a good time.
According to head chef Jason, they get their cheeses direct from Europe and this dedication has become a feature of their Friday brunch. Their “dealer” (I think the official foodie term is “purveyer”) are the renowned Mons fromagier-affinuer who were established in 1964, now sell to more than 20 countries and are now my food heroes.
First off the rank for me was the delectable Delice De St Cyr which is not only known for its unctious creaminess, is now known as the 100th cheese to be tested by this blog.
A triple cream soft pasteurized cows’ milk cheese from Ile-de-France region (East of Paris). It has flavours of hazelnuts and mushrooms. The rind is yellow with white bloom ; the curds are lightly cut and hand-ladled into moulds.
Although not inhabiting the space usually dedicated in my heart to sheep and goat cheese, this has to be one of my favorite cheeses of the year. It just keeps giving – creamy and soft, it goes with everything.
Who can compete with that? Well, the show must go on, and next on the board was Bonde Du Poitou.
Hailing from the Poitou-Charentes region in south west France, this is a cheeky little goat cheese. It is soft but firm and becomes slightly crumbly when very mature, although this one was soft and creamy. It has a mild and creamy taste that becomes stronger with maturity.The curd is made from fresh, full fat goat’s milk then it is put into a specific type of mould, inlaid with the initials ‘CdP’ to represent its name. The cheese is then removed from the mould before salting.
Moving round the map of France is the form (or soft and runny in this case), Reblochon.
I have extolled the virtues of this wonderful cheese before, but once more for emphasis. A semi-soft, washed-rind and smear-ripened mountain cheese that originated at the heart of the massif des Aravis, in the Thônes region of Haute-Savoie in France. The cheese is excellent on the cheeseboard or can be melted on baked potatoes. Reblochon also features as a classic ingredient in one of the Alps’ best-loved dishes, the Tartiflette.
the final rung on the stairway to Cheese Heaven, was the Maroilles, from Northern France.
This one was completely new to me and i do love a cheese with a history. The cheese is sold in individual rectangular blocks with a moist orange-red washed rind and a strong smell. Maroilles is often reported to have first been made in 962 by a monk in the Abbey of Maroilles. The cheese rapidly became famous throughout the region and was a favourite of several French kings including Philip II, Louis IX, Charles VI and Francis I.
The pâte is soft and oily. It has a powerful aroma suggesting fermenting fruit and the flavor reminds smoky bacon. Hmmmmmm. Bacon.
So, the milestone has been passed. Apparently it’s all about the journey and not the destination. That 365th cheese doesn’t seem so far away now.