“Sweet dreams are made of cheese. Who am I to dis a brie. I cheddar the world and the feta cheese. Everybody’s looking for Stilton…”
When I first started going to France regularly every year some years back, I caught severe flak for cutting the nose off of the brie. I was castigated and, browbeaten as the ignorant American that I so clearly was. (I also passed the port the wrong way and didn’t respond by chugging my wine when a penny was dropped into it. So I’m not exactly the most sympathetic to such things.)
When you’re good to your cheese—when you show it some respect and some TLC—you can rest assured that your cheese will return the favor. Mistreating a cheese will inevitably result in a less delicious cheese.
But beware! Cheese criminals abound! I should know: I live with one. Even worse, I used to be one. So what changed? Mainly, I went to France and go several times a year to visit family. I found myself surrounded by smart, driven people who knew a hell of a lot more about cheese than I did. When I started listening to their advice, I started getting way more out of my cheese-eating experiences. Best of all, none of that advice is actually hard to follow; it takes just a little more planning and a little extra effort for big, funky-nutty-salty-grassy-creamy all-around delightful rewards.
So before you dismiss these commandments as snobbery, I urge you to give them a try. You may just be surprised by how much you like being a cheese snob yourself.
#1 CHEESE COMMANDMENT: Never ever EVER cut off the nose of the cheese!
This is by far the most common crime against cheese known to mankind. You should NEVER cut off the “nose” of cheese: Cutting a slice parallel to the rind is a big no-no in French cheese etiquette.
Let me repeat: Never, ever, ever cut off the nose of the cheese.
French President Charles de Gaulle once complained it was impossible to govern a country with 246 kinds of cheese. If France has managed to thrive despite de Gaulle’s misgivings it’s probably because there are rules for everything, including cheese.
ome years ago, when I was in England, I caught severe flak for cutting the nose off of the brie. I was castigated and, browbeaten as the ignorant American that I so clearly was. I also passed the port the wrong way and didn’t respond by chugging my wine when a penny was dropped into it. So I’m not exactly the most sympathetic to such things.