Cheese can sometimes be a challenge.
After three years, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find new cheeses to taste for la Fête du Fromage. A trip to les Halles in Béziers a couple of weeks ago was an exercise in futility as I have tasted every single cheese on offer at both Fromageries. And last week in Paris I walked out empty handed from three different cheese shops. Seriously.
So you can imagine how excited I was to finally stumble across a wine and cheese shop in Béziers that I knew existed but had never been able to find. It's tucked into a funny, nondescript warehouse space on the way out of town and getting in and out of their parking lot without being run down by oncoming traffic was definitely a triumph.
My delight in finding a new cheese source meant that I ignored the fact that most of the fromages in the case looked a bit tired and dried out. I had tasted their entire selection except this one, Tarentais, a fromage de chèvre from Savoie, so couldn't resist bringing it home.
Now I'm not sure how long they've had this piece sitting in their shop, but I can tell you that it is undoubtedly eligible to win the title of the World's Oldest Cheese.
The flavor was so strong, so heady, so overly-nutty and piquant that we decided it was not to nibble on. It would however, be delicious crumbled up and baked on top of a gratin with some white beans, tomatoes and fresh thyme or even added to macaroni and cheese for an extra kick.
I plan on trying to find another piece of Tarentais (hopefully soon!) and tasting in its prime, anywhere from 2 weeks old to 3 months old. With a glass of wine from the Savoie.