Leave me alone…Just leave me alone !
Rue Mouffetard , Paris
That evening while my heart & eyes had their share of sensory overload with what they had witnessed at Musee d’ Orsay , Musee Rodin and Pantheon , my stomach craved and longed to be heard.When the rumblings metamorphosed from soft gurgling sounds to loud growls , I realized that all I wanted was peace , love , understanding and a chocolate bar bigger than my head ! A hungry woman is an angry woman , is a lazy woman , is a crazy woman and you definitely don’t want to mess with all of them at the same time 😛
So,I headed to Rue Mouffetard (Latin Quarter )to fix myself dinner.Rue Mouffetard is this narrow cobbled stone street bustling with side walk cafes ,stalls of fruit and vegetables,bakeries sporting crusty brown baguettes and mouth-watering sticky pâtisseries , fromageries selling an incredible selection of French cheese , wine shops very uniquely displaying wines in baskets.Ah ! I knew instantly that I was in heaven !
I entered a formager (cheese store).The idea of being surrounded by cheese in every direction, learning about the different regions and styles of cheesemaking,trying and tasting new varieties , inhaling funky aromas was divine! I’m pretty sure I would have tried maybe twenty some varieties before finalizing four for dinner. Tomme du Poitou , Tome Crayeuse , Bleu d’ Auvergne and Banon baies rose made it to my list.
Let me give my cheesy winners an intro.
Introducing Mr. Tomme du Poitou…Thick and creamy on the inside, and oozy and soft on the outside edge, all held in by a thick, chunky crust.
Taste: Heavenly !
In my opinion,the best goat cheeses in all of France ! Okay,I can’t vouch for all of France.Traditionally, there are 300-400 distinct types of French cheese and then there are many varieties within each type , leading to some 1000 different types of French cheese .This was told to me by the guy in the cheese store.I came back and wiki’ed it.He was so right ! So ya, I can’t vouch for all of France but I can certainly vouch from the twenty something that I had tasted.
Next comes Mr. Tome Crayeuse …More refined, with rounder,creamier,subtler flavors of a good quality brie(soft cow’s milk cheese) accompanied by an earthiness from its rind.
Aroma: Intriguing – it’s like damp earth , straw and hay, all in one whiff .
Taste: Buttery !
Btw, if you are wondering what my fascination with all the “Tomes” is , then let me offer you an explanation.A “tomme” refers only to the fact that it’s a small round of cheese.There we go. It’s a pretty generic term for a family of cheeses that can be of various styles and milk types.Does that bring down your doubt filled questioning brows ?
Alright then , moving on..
Mr. Bleu d’ Auvergne ..Yes, you guessed it right ! Bleu in French means blue.Pretty straightforward uh ? Just replace the u & e and you have Bleu instead of Blue.Unlike the many strong flavored blue cheeses,our Mr. blue is pretty mellow and meaty.
Roquefort ,the ‘King of Blues’ is the assertive one with spicy sheepy flavors.Our Mr. B is more like an even tempered prince.Well balanced in salt and spice.
Last but not the least, let’s welcome our finalist ‘Banon baies rose’ ! This fresh goaty,creamy round is decorated with pink peppercorns (baies roses), the dried berries of the Peruvian pepper tree.
Taste : Mild and nutty with distinct anise like character of the pink peppercorns.
After twenty something when my palate couldn’t tell creamy from chalky,my nostrils mild from pungent ,I knew my cheesy rendezvous was over.My cheese man ,that’s what I called him , suggested I buy a traditional country-style French bread from a local boulangerie right across the street.I followed his recommendation and bought a lovely full-flavored loaf .While standing in the queue waiting for my baker to bring me my bake , my eyes fell on the mouth-watering array of meringues, little cakes, brioches and iced fancies.After all , how can your eyes not get blinded by brightly colored macaroons , layered mille-feuille pastries , classic creamy eclairs and lofty mont blanc pastries topped with whipped cream ? It’s crime not to see them and even more so not to eat them 🙂
It’s funny how your mind reasons out everything.I remember having this conversation with myself.
Me :“Well, after all that cream,salt and butter, you would need something sweet and sugary to balance out, isn’t it?
Me :“But,I already have four blobs of cheese and then I have this whole loaf all to myself and I plan on buying a bottle of French wine as well.Will I be able to handle all of this ?”
Me :“Sure , you will.What makes you think not ?”
Me :“But,I’m leaving for Versailles in the morning. If I won’t be able to finish all of this tonight ,it will go waste”.
Me :“Oh! don’t be ridiculous.You can always take cheese along on your way.Cheese is always a good idea ! “
Me :“So, are you 100% sure , I should buy a delight for myself and make myself delightful? “
Me :“Most definitely , my darling ! Oh and btw , I like the pink one ..”
Me : “Which one?”
Me :”Oh , that layered , pink , creamy one ..the one that reads Mille ..Mille-foo ..Mille-feuille”
Me :Ah ! that does look insanely decadent . Alrightie, Mille-feuille it is ! “
And by the time this conversation ended , the queue ahead of me ended too.I was at the counter collecting my bread and placing an order to pack a mille-feuille with it 🙂 I left the bakery with a big broad satisfied smile and headed to the wine shop to pick a bottle of local wine.I was so cheese high that I don’t remember the one I picked.French wines have that reputation for themselves.They can’t go wrong with wines in France.
It was now time to head back to the hostel and fix myself some exotic dinner ! I assorted my top picks for the day in a plate ,sliced the loaf of bread , laid out the mille-fueille in advance as a reminder to devour it at the end ,poured myself a glass of that anonymous French wine and dug straight in ….
I had an expression on my face to the rest of people sitting in the kitchen area which read ..
Leave me alone ..Just leave me alone ..Leave me all alone with my cheese and wine !