Cheese-y Holiday Traditions

29 Dec

Do you know about fromages.com? Do you know that it’s the best Christmas Eve tradition I’ve ever been introduced to? Do you also know that I had it again last night and almost died because it was so delicious? All of that is 100% fact.

The Christmas Eve Cheese-a-thon

This was my first Christmas away from my family and to say it was hard is an understatement, especially since I was missing out on hanging out with the three most beautiful and awesome kids of my life (two nieces, one nephew). Instead I was out here in not-so-snowy LA with my boyfriend’s family (which includes a most beautiful and loving child as well…lucky me!) eating cheese. Ok, not so bad. I guess I’ll give up my family’s tradition of opening one present on xmas eve for Fromages.com because this is a tradition I can get in front of, next to and behind.

Fromages.com is kind of incredible in that you order cheese from France today and it’s here tomorrow. TOMORROW! Or you can schedule it to arrive on a specific day and order ahead of time. They’re also raw milk cheeses which you may or may not be comfortable eating. If you aren’t then we probably shouldn’t be friends. Our little cheeses have a bit of a back story that begins with a phone call:

“Hi, my name is Liz and I’m with the people who are delivering your package and I just wanted to call and confirm what is being delivered.” or something like that. She was calling to find out what was in the package because it had to go through customs and be cleared to come into the country. Did I mention they are French cheeses? The message continued:

“The package is coming from France and there are words on here like ‘brill-at sav-a-rin’ and ‘cow’…I think it’s in French”. When she said this the kitchen exploded with laughter. Her French was  non-existent and in a kitchen full of Francophiles (excluding me), it was pretty hilarious.

And then we called poor Liz back and said yes, we were expecting the package please deliver it. Then it came a day later and there was slight panic from some but all was cheese-a-rific and the night couldn’t have been better. So now, the lineup.

Tomme de Belloc: “This cheese is made from the milk of red-nosed Manech ewes. The cheese has a fine, dense pâte that is rich in fat. The strong, lingering flavor, like caramelized brown sugar, is the result of a long affinage of 6 months, a similar effect to a stew that has simmered for a long time” This was the only “hard” cheese we had and it was a favorite of my boyfriend’s.

Couronne Lochoise: “The cheese has a generous flavour of the rich pasture lands of the Touraine. If allowed to mature to its peak of perfection the cheese will have the texture and taste of buttered pastry.” And who doesn’t love a buttered pastry? This was my 3rd favorite, next to the Pouligny-Saint-Pierre that you see in the background. “The Pouligny is made from alpine goat’s milk, perfumed by the heather and herbs of the moor lands. To make its splendid form, the curd is ladled into a pyramid-shaped mould that has holes in it.” This was the star of the show two nights later with some of the best wine I’ve had in a while, a 2001 Rousseau Chambertin. That wine needs a post all to itself. Maybe I know someone who can guest post??

Montbriac: “Manufactured in dairies of Haute-Loire, the Montbriac is made from cow’s milk. This cheese is easily recognizable with its ashy dough and its slightly blue-veined ivory color pâte. The cheese with a light perfume is smooth and delicate.” We called this cheese “the ooze” because it …oozed. I think I had the least of this cheese and would like to try it again so I can really get the most out of it.

I couldn’t stop eating the Brillat Savarin, which is the one behind the Montbriac. “Slightly neutral when it is fresh, this cheese can develop a pronounced taste if well matured. Its taste is soft and creamy.Slightly neutral when it is fresh, this cheese can develop a pronounced taste if well matured. Its taste is soft and creamy.” We called it “one step from butter” and it was my second favorite. It was also the one with the quote “A meal without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye,” which I took offense to because I only have one eye. Maybe those Frenchies need more women with one eye so they can see what they’re missing!

Crottin de Chavignol: “Fresh, it has a creamy, nutty taste. Later on in the maturing process it acquires a pronounced flavor. As the Crottin de Chavignol continues to mature, the robust taste increases, but is never sour.” This was by far my favorite but that’s because it’s a goat cheese and I would die for this type of cheese. The texture was perfect; so creamy and smooth but just a little crumbly–GAH!

Like I said, one of my favorite holiday traditions.

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