On dit du fromage
by jemma margaret
The NYtimes published an article about the art of cheese description in that fare city which left me very nostalgic.
No, no, I am not hankering after a block of Vermont cheddar or a California style goat. What I miss are the accompanying words (even more so the accompanying words for buying wine–oh you loquacious Americans!). Almost every day I walk past at least one glorious expanse of beautiful aged milks of all shapes, sizes, textures, latitudes, ripeness, and so on. But which to choose? French cheese is cheaper in France than anywhere else, but it is still not inconsequential. More prohibitively than price, I hate to waste food. To add insult to injury I have had more than one misunderstandings in trying to say “un cent kilo” and ending up with “deux”–in a worst case scenario that’s nearly half a pound of unwanted dairy taking up valuable real estate
Before you remind me that I could just ask, let me tell you that I’ve tried.
Last Wednesday, high on the false sense of confidence gained from three consecutive hours of French lessons, I tried to ask the cheesemonger at the local outdoor market what cheese might go well with roasted vegetables.
He had no idea what I was talking about. So I trailed off and ordered a small piece of goat cheese, which was nothing more than unremarkable (I was happy to learn that although I am the only anglo-saxon in my French course, everyone likewise suffers from the Parisian tendency to respond in English to poor French. I thought they could tell I was American…but they just know that I am NOT French…bien sûr.).
Today, with an easier menu in mind, I asked a different cheesemonger at a different outdoor market for a recommendation for a goat cheese to have with salad. The thousand variables in these two cases should assure you that my French has probably not improved. Happily, she understood and recommended a fine choice. Though my salad is on tomorrow’s menu, I tested a taste and am well pleased with my purchase. For future reference (although the cheese must remain anonymous for the reason that I threw away its label without writing it down):
Le fromage anonyme a la texture d’un mozzarella di bufala, plus de structure que un chevre frais typique. Douce et doux. Le citron et l’herbe, d’accord, mais aussi subtilement différente. Peut-être vous devriez essayer encore? J’imagine il sera magnifique avec quelque chose de sucré comme de miel, des raisins du vin, ou une épaisseur de vinaigre balsamique de modena. Pour les jours où on espère pour le soleil.