Monday, September 10, 2007
Ça me rend chèvre!!!
As most displaced immigrants the world over, this Frenchy sometimes gets homesick, and as with many immigrants, my homesickness usually translates in food cravings. Fortunately I can cook, but of course there are many things and ingredients I cannot find.
Like real hard cider (it's sparkling and alcoholic and strong and pairs with absolutely everything), Calvados (it is something we make in Normandy, not something we buy. It has usually a 70% alcohol content) real charcuterie or goat cheese. Sure, you can find plaster-like white logs in any supermarket here, but that's what they are, tasteless plaster.
Now I must say there have been major improvements in locating decent cheeses here and California is blessed in the sense that you can find raw milk products. But still, the concept of ripening the cheese is sorely lacking in this country, and don't get me started on plastic-wrapped things. And the prices are horrendous. Gee, 10 times the price of what a Pont-L’Évêque or Livarot would fetch back home! Cra-zy.
But all in all, it seems that America doesn't understand the concept of goat cheese.
Ça me rend chèvre! It drives me nuts, in proper English. First of all, if you insist on fresh goat cheese, which can be a marvelous product destined to bring tears to your eyes, don't over-drain it. It should contain a bit of moisture to avoid that plaster consistency, a crime against goats the world over.
I also lament the absence of crottins that are properly aged.
So as a service to my numerous readers, I'm giving you a tip: Whole Foods currently has a selection of "local" cheeses, at least at the one on 3rd and Fairfax. Go get one of these Redwood Hills Farm crottins. It is not perfect and costs at least twice what I would pay in France for the same thing, but it will give you a vague idea of what goat cheese should be.
Then start petitioning our mayor (Hi Antonio! Need a diversion from your adulterous affairs?) to truly bring in these herds of goats that will maintain Griffith Park brushes-free and prevent another fire.
The goats could pay for themselves by creating a municipal goat cheese creamery. You just have to import one Frenchy to teach you guys how to make crottins and all other types of goat milk cheese, and Voilà ! Los Angeles could become the US Capital of great goat cheese. Believe me Antonio, the country will thank you.