Monday, August 06, 2012

Petit Pont L'Evêque: Smell like hell, taste like heaven

The characteristic red box holding the pungent aromas 
My friend Dagfinn brought a French cheese the other day. He described the odeurs emanating from the E. Graindorge Petit Pont l'Evêque from Normandy as a "smell of dirty diapers", but promised me an extraordinary tasting experience. His decription was perfect. It smelled hell, and tasted heaven.

Some unpasteurized cheeses produce the most terrifying odeurs - you are often caught thinking, "eating this I will most certainly die." Most often you do not die, but end up surprised by the taste, as it is mild with a soft, creamy consistency.

Ready to be eaten in all its goodness!!
My first, and most scary cheese experience, was when I wanted to buy a local cheese in Maastricht, ignoring the shop assistants advise, that I most certainly wouldn't. I brought the cheese (wrapped in three plastic bags) back to Brussels and left it in the fridge. I had to throw it away the next day, as living with the cheese was an existential question - it was either us or the cheese. 

Living with the Petit Pont l'Evêque Dagfinn brought was not hard, as the aromas was pungent but not unbearable.

E. Graindorge, the manufacturer in Livarot in Normandy has made cheese from 1910. The E. Graindorge Petit Pont l'Evêque was amazingly creamy, and had those delicious characteristic aromas of unpasteurized cheeses, earthy and deep, slightly bitter resembling mushrooms, nuts and turnip.

The secret with cheeses like these is to temperate them well, it will improve the consistency as well as release all the goodness inside. We did, and it was a treat, with good bread and blueberry and fig and date  jam.

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