“I love you more than cheese.” That’s what my Valentine’s card to Damon said.
I thought it delightfully apt – we’re both big cheese fans. Hence our plans to open a cheese-and-wine business.
We want to offer local cheeses, of course, but we also want to sell some of the best of what’s available from across France. Given our heritage, it would seem odd not to have any cheeses from outre-Manche too – and I’m sure some of our British customers might appreciate the occasional taste of home.
So, over the past year or more, we’ve been working to increase our knowledge of cheese. It’s been what you might call a labour of love.
“We’ve been working to increase our knowledge of cheese. It’s been what you might call a labour of love”
We started with goat’s cheeses and have learned the differences between the various types available.
We’ve worked our way through the Appellation d’Origine Protégée goat’s cheeses and beyond – from the salt-ash covered Valençay to the little Picodon, the first cheese to have orbited the earth. (Yes, really.)
Our favourite was the Chabichou du Poitou, which probably isn’t suprising, as we love the (non-protected) chabichous of the South West.
Now we’re trying cow’s milk cheeses. Appropriately, with Valentine’s Day this week, we tried a Cœur de Neufchâtel cheese the other day, made with lait cru.
I enjoyed it very much. This soft white cheese, or fromage à pâte molle et à croûte fleurie, in French – we are having to learn in two languages, of course – is just the sort of cheese I love.
Legend has it that young women in Normandy gave it as a sign of their love to English soldiers as they passed through the region during the 100 Years War.
Sadly, we spent Valentine’s Day apart. Damon’s in the UK visiting his mum.
She had a bad fall – she’s black and blue and has fractured a bone in her neck – and was whisked to hospital. She’s now been moved to a convalescence home to recover.
We’re calling it rehab.
Of course, I feel awful for her. And for us, it means that we have yet to spend a Valentine’s Day together since moving to France.
Ah well, it won’t be long now till we’re running a business together and will be spending all our days together. And I’ll be able to eat as much Cœur de Neufchâtel as I like.