The Mystery of Fromage Blanc

Classic first phrase in french:  Qu'est-ce que cést?

"What is it?

The fromage (cheese) of France is world famous, and we've been learning some about it here in France.  For instance, certain cheeses have propriety names.  One cannot call your cheese Roquefort, unless the sheep who gave the milk for it ate from grass within a hundred miles of a certain group of caves, or something like that.  It's largely the same way with french wines.  We have several local proprietary cheeses, and we have enjoyed trying them out.  They aren't really cheap, but they are less expensive than if we would buy them in the US (which we never would, because of their expense).

But this is not about those cheeses.  This is about "fromage blanc", of which you can get a small bucket-full at a local store here for less than two euros.  It's literally "white cheese", but what does that mean?  We had heard that it could supplant yogurt, sour cream, whipping cream, ricotta cheese, and maybe some others.  So we had to try it.

We bought a mini-bucket yesterday and today added into some chili.  It is halfway between plain yogurt and sour cream, but thicker than either, and a bit cheesier than either.  Oh, the versatility!  Fromage blanc, you will be seeing more of us.

Which brings me to two somewhat random associations:

1.  Andrew Peterson's song of the Alien Cheese Juice.  This was found as a live version on his "Appendix A" where he sings that the queso at little mexican taquerias is really a mystery mind control device.  He sings "Mexico remembers the Alamo... In the temple of the Incas, there is a fountain flowing cheese dip.  Then they smuggle it to Texas, and they trick us with the free chips... What is that white stuff on my nachos?  It's too thin to be just cheese.  It's too thick to be just milk, in its sublime consistency."  (not exact quote)

2.  In high school, I once did a school project with a few friends where we filmed an advertisement for a product called "Creamy Cool Shave".  It was an aerosol cream that you could shave your face, shave your legs, spread on your toast, or just enjoy straight out of the can.  Who knew it was in France all this time?


Anonymous said...

This is great! And very informative :)