When I found out I would be taking my first trip to Paris, I was excited and a bit nervous. Sure, there would be all the amazing cheese, bread, pastries, and chocolates to try, but Paris is big. REALLY big. For someone with crowd issues (which I have) this can be a terrifying experience. I talked with a few of my francophile friends and they assured me that, unlike New York or Chicago where the streets are jam-packed with people all the time, Paris feels busy, but not suffocating. This was a good thing since I enjoy exploring new places. Once I settled into my hotel, I set off with my list of fromageries from cheese connoisseur Susan Sturman, Rick Steve’s Paris 2014 guidebook & Streetwise Paris map in hand, and immediately got lost. Seriously. This was actually a good thing since my getting lost lead me to my first fromagerie, Cheese.
It’s that time of year, New Yorkers! The Stinky Cheese Festival is in full funk so get out there and smell the cheesy goodness! The Tour de France NYC restaurant group, nine of the Big Apple’s finest eateries, has put aside the mild and is showing off the wild that the cheese the French have to offer. Twenty of the funkiest fromages of France will be incorporated into specialty menus from now until February 25th. The Mouse wishes we could be there to take in the sweet and stinky pleasures of Raclette, Stilton, Epoisses, and Gorgonzola. Any House Mouse fans who find themselves in New York and attend this event, please keep in touch and let us know the faves and the just plain funky.
The French are known to produce some of the smelliest, most intense cheeses in the world. From the mildly offensive Roquefort to the bus-banned Epoisses, French cheeses are among the stinkiest and oft-times most tasty. Unfortunately, the latest attempt at funk has proved fatal.
Three people have died and five more were injured at the unveiling ceremony for Normandy’s newest stinky cheese, Chausettes de Fesses (translation: socks of buttocks).
“It was not the reaction I was expecting,” explained local dairy farmer Marcel Vachequirit. “The cheese is beautiful, perhaps my finest ever cheese, and yes – I admit – it does have quite a tang, but the mortality rate so far is astonishing.”
You can read more about this cheesy tragedy on The Daily Shame.
photo: The Daily Shame
Attention all stinky cheese lovers! If you happen to be in New York City over the next four days, be sure to check out the Third Annual Stinky Cheese Festival running now until March 12th. Visit one of eight restaurants featuring variations of the same three-course meal consisting of an appetizer of Raclette De Fromage, Chicken Cordon Bleu for the main course and dessert – Poached Pear with Gorgonzola.
In addition to the pre-fix menu, the festival will be showcasing over 20 kinds of funky fromage from Epoisses to my beloved Stinking Bishop.
For more information, check out the Tour De France NYC website.
Not all stinky cheeses are created equal. Some are overtly funky from smell to taste. Others smell intense yet have a delicious mild flavor. Hard and crumbly or soft and runny, I love them all. That being said, not all fumigating fromages are created equal. Here is the first of what I hope to be many compare and contrast tastings.
On the platter are two intense cheeses sure to please even the most timid taster. The first is a Swiss cheese called Chue Fladae (translates to “cow patty). Raw cow’s milk and a thick pastry-like washed rind, the aroma can be off-putting at the very least and just unbearable as it gets to room temperature. Continue reading
This stinky, funky, pungent, and amazingly tasty cheese is my White Whale. I had my first taste of Stinking Bishop two years ago at the Whole Foods in Ann Arbor. The aroma was a mixture of wet dog and athletic shoes after a 10K. Not for the faint of stomach, to be sure. Then I took a bite and just lapsed into silence (a feat nearly impossible as those who know me can attest). I was in heaven! This aggressive yet smooth cheese had a powerful and earthy flavor that just wafted through my mouth. I know strong-smelling cheese isn’t most people’s idea of awesome, but I could eat a whole 5lb wheel of this stuff without so much as a soda cracker. Stinking Bishop was by far the strongest cheese I had tasted and it soared to the top of my list of must -haves. And then it was gone.
Stinking Bishop rose to popularity after it was used to revive the main character in the movie Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Wererabbit. Demand grew 500% within a month. Unfortunately, this unctuous treasure has a limited production of only 20 tons a year (that’s less than half the normal production of most artisan cheeses). With such high demand, Stinking Bishop vanished from cheesemongers’ cases.
It has been a year and a half since I tasted my elusive delicacy. Requests at my local Whole Foods are met with a sad shake of the head or pathetic shrug of shoulders. I could order it online, but I fear the unknown distributor. Some dishonest shyster who tries to pass off Epoisse as my aromatic Bishop. And so I search in hope if one day procuring that creamy, stinky gold once more.