Fromages de Brebis Corses

14 09 2009

Friday afternoon, I went on a cheese hunt.  It took me deep into the 20th arrondissement, to Place Gambetta.  The area is full of neat regional specialty shops, and the rue des Pyrénées, in particular, is a great place to do some food shopping.  Within two minutes’ walk from the bus stop, I found two excellent fromageries that carried Corsican cheeses.  At the first, François Priet, I picked up a wedge of tomme Corse – a firm cheese with small holes and a gnarly-looking rind.

Tomme Corse

I’m pretty sure that kind of rind is caused by cheese mites.  So I cut it off, and the cheese underneath is outstanding.  It has the distinct tang of sheep’s milk (Corsica being essentially a mountain, sheep and goats are more suited to the terrain than cattle, and all Corsican cheese is made from sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, or a blend of the two) with an earthy, mushroomy, savory richness to back it up.  Thank you, cheese mites!

A little further up the hill, I came to  La Cave aux Fromages.  This tiny, odoriferous shop has an impressive selection of Corsican and other lesser-known French cheeses.  I honed in on the A Filetta, another sheep’s cheese, but completely different from the first.  I was attracted to it by the fern leaf atop the pale orange washed rind, and by the way it looked like it would ooze all over if you let it come up to room temperature.

A Filetta

Upon unwrapping it, Nick exclaimed, “That cheese smells.  Like a cab driver.”  It did have a whiff of B.O. and gasoline, I suppose, but I’ve come to find many otherwise offensive smells don’t bother me when they’re coming from a cheese.  When I tasted it, the first words out of my mouth were, “It tastes like it smells.  But in a good way.”  Definitely strong, definitely one of the more pungent cheeses I’ve had in some time.  Nick was less impressed.  So I probably won’t be running out to buy another half-wheel of A Filetta anytime soon, though I certainly wouldn’t turn it down.  That tomme Corse, on the other hand, may just end up in the regular rotation.

After a few months of vacation, Chez Loulou’s Fête du Fromage event is back!  I’m sending this post her way, so be sure to check out the International cheese roundup over there on the 15th (that’s Tuesday).

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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9 responses

14 09 2009
Hopie

Mmm, Corsican cheese. I’ll have to check out rue des Pyranées next time I get a cheese craving (wait, that’s all the time…).

14 09 2009
hungry dog

I’m mixed on the pungent cheeses…sometimes they are much milder than you’d expect and sometimes they are EXACTLY what you expect! But it sure is fun to try every cheese that crosses your path…

14 09 2009
Loulou

“That cheese smells. Like a cab driver.” :) SO funny! And I can totally imagine it.

That crust definitely looks cheese mite eaten to me. And both of the cheeses look fantastic! Thanks again for joining in La Fête.

15 09 2009
spacedlaw

Gasoline?
Good heavens.

I love the poetry on the wrapping paper of the Corsican cheese.

15 09 2009
croquecamille

Hopie – You mean you don’t have five kinds of cheese in your fridge at all times? ;)

hungry dog – Every cheese? Sounds like a pretty dangerous proposition in France. :)

Loulou – It was funny. And right on the nose, so to speak.

spacedlaw – I like it, too!

15 09 2009
Rachel

Gasoline is a seductive scent, but I’m not sure I would like it in an edible. Particularly when mixed with cab driver, but now I am very intrigued about that cheese! Vive La Fete du Fromage!

15 09 2009
Ladybird

Camille, You’re so lucky to live in Paris where you must have a large choice of ‘crèmeries’ to buy your cheese from. Today’s selection looks great. Wish I could get some of it here in Belgium.

16 09 2009
Ann Mah

Oh, I love the 20th! How fun to go on a fromage expedition there.

One thing I loved about Corsica was how they served their strongest cheeses with confiture. And a friend just returned from a trip there and said she ate cheese with figs, now that it’s fig season. The jam really seemed to soften up the most pungent cheese. Maybe try it on your next 1/2 wheel of A Filetta?

16 09 2009
croquecamille

Rachel – Yes, that’s what it’s all about – exploring, finding new cheeses, pushing the comfort zone a bit…

Ladybird – I do feel lucky to live here, but it sounds like you have some great cheeses to choose from up in Belgium, too!

Ann – Or the remainder of this one. Thanks for the tip!




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