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Mimolette

In the early years of the 17th Century, much of northern Europe was at war and vast areas of Europe were not ruled or laid out as we now know them. Northern France for example, was under the rule of Spain – as part of the Spanish Netherlands. It wasn’t until the reign of Louis XIV that this began to change. [e.g. http://history.wisc.edu/sommerville/351/351-14.htm]. By 1680, France’s northern border began to resemble that of today.

With war on many fronts, the Minister of Finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert, was forced to encourage domestic industry and to heavily tax or ban imports. It stands to reason therefore that Dutch produce (produce from the Spanish Netherlands, which included Holland and Belgium) was banned or at the very least – hard to get.Mimolette Cheese. Image credit at bottom of blog post.Dutch Cheese, as you might imagine, was part of this trade embargo. Yet, the king enjoyed Edam Cheese so much that he encouraged Colbert to find a French alternative. This he did, in the form of Boule de Lille – produced at that time in Flanders. It had to be coloured orange to distinguish it from the Dutch version and Mimolette was born. See Monday’s #sugsnip – http://bit.ly/vQrhnR.

Mimolette is a cheese that until this week, has passed me by. And that’s a shame because it is delicious. Simply delicious! All the websites that discuss this gorgeous cheese suggest it looks like Cantaloupe Melon – and it does. When I opened my recent purchase and showed it to Sharon she said “Mmm, melon”. But the colour changes with age I understand, as does the taste.

It is a hard cheese and like parmesan, has a rich nutty flavour. What I didn’t tell Sharon was how some of the flavour is introduced:

Maturing the cheeses involves storing them in damp cellars and turning them every week. At the same time the surface of the cheese is brushed to remove cheese mites which feast on its surface. As the cheese ages, evidence of mites can be seen in the pitted and moon like surface which appears on the cheese. http://bit.ly/u4LNLb

Hey ho, what you don’t know can’t harm you – and – it sure tastes good 😉

Photo Credit – 1 = http://www.flickr.com/photos/vialbost/5001160831/
Video Credit – 1 = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVg2CWhLnF4

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