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.
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.
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.