May 5, 2010

La Fête du Fromage - Tarentais

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. Pin It


Tuula said...

Sounds yummy...if not a bit strong! I'm still getting my head around all the cheeses here, so will happily add Tarentais to my 'to-try' list. Enjoy your next 'sample'!

Betty Carlson said...

I love your line about the wine and cheese shop in Béziers that you "had never been able to find." Sounds like Béziers to me!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I cannot believe you left empty handed from the cheese shop in Paris... amazing :-)

Olive and Branch for the home said...

Was it even crumbly-able? It looked a little ... dry. I am trying to imagine the aroma and the taste...

Anonymous said...

Three cheese shops in Paris! Wow. How do you remember them all? Do you carry a list of already-tasted cheeses with you when you go shopping?

Jennifer said...

There are so many delicious cheeses in France. Enjoy your tasting!

Béziers is unbelievably difficult to navigate. I was there today and got turned around and slightly lost, yet again.

I went to 6 cheese shops in total so did end up buying some cheeses at the others. I refused to leave Paris without finding at least a few new cheeses!

Yes, crumbly and easy to grate. The aroma was goaty and the flavor was STRONG!

Went to 6 fromageries in total and yes, I carry a list with me or else I would never remember them all. :)

spacedlaw said...

Wow, you are getting stuck! You need to transfer to some other French area.

spacedlaw said...

Or open a cheese shop yourself.

Jennifer said...

I know! Or I need to travel more. Or open my own shop - what a heavenly idea. :)