Monday, February 23, 2009

Fleur du Maquis AKA Brin D'Amour

For years I knew this cheese as Brin D'Amour (breath of love). It is also known as Fleur du Maquis (flower of the Maquis). This sheep's milk cheese from Corsica is coated in rosemary, juniper berries, and some chili peppers.

As I've said before, I don't like my cheese filled or coated with stuff. But, just as I have made exceptions for the Shepherd's Logue and the Bourbon Chocolate Torta, I make an exception for Brin D'Amour. The rind is completely edible, but I usually brush off some of the woodier pieces of dried herb when I eat the rind.

This cheese can be eaten at any stage of aging. When young, the cheese is milky, creamy and slightly herby, but as it ages, the paste becomes firmer, and the herbiness kicks into high gear.

The young cheese comes in. Yes, it's supposed to look like this. The mold on the rind is fluffy, soft and fragile. Kind of like if you were holding freshly made cotton candy in your hand.

A slightly older wheel.

The paste is creamy white. Depending on age it can be dry and crumbly, or soft and almost springy or fluffy in texture.


Anonymous said...

But ... Cheeseswench ... it just LOOKS bad.

Cheesewench said...

No no no my nom de plume-less friend. It is a good looking and tasting cheese.

I've heard people say that cheese is really just "milk gone bad" and to some extent that is true. The thing is, if you had some expired milk and left it in your fridge eventually you might get a cheese like product. Would you eat that? NO!

Cheese is milk that had been scientifically (seriously, acid is a BIG deal in the cheese world)agitated and coaxed with science, patience, love and David Copperfield-esque magic into a lovely thing.

You have to trust that the cheesemaker, and monger know how to best take care of that cheese to keep it edible and to restrict any nasties that try to corrupt it.

This is a great topic though, molds, which are good which are bad, and which should you just scape off with a knife? You have inspired a post. Next week I'll tackle molds.

Next week you will look at this same picture and say " looks sooooo good"

Cheesewench said...

I apologize for sounding like "Mr. Food". It won't happen again.

Cranky Old Man said...

Oh Dear.

I have to agree with the nameless poster, it DOES look bad. It’s fuzzy.

There is a saying that “you eat first with your eyes, then your mouth”.

Now I know there is a popular TV show where a guy eats unspeakable food and many cultures (sorry) eat things that other cultures would not consider eating, but that cheese is going to be a hard sell.

Elissar said...

just discovered this cheese. so good.

Anonymous said...

I discovered this cheese on my neighborhood Paris market a few years ago and it's always wowed everyone who tasted it.
It's not always available at the market, so for friends venus d'ailleurs and/or now addicted to it, I've often had to hunt for it all over Paris. Those of you who think it looks gross might like to know that I've NEVER EVER seen it for sale in the mouldy fluffball version shown in the first photo.
Track it down and check for yourself - this is a cheese that looks, smells and tastes delicious !
Cheesewench : Why translate "BRIN d'amour" as "BREATH of love"? To me, the "brin" (= sprig) in the French name is a play on words meaning both "a bit" and referring more literally to the crushed sprigs of tasty herbs around the cheese. That works pretty well in English, so chez moi, this cheese is known as "SPRIG of love"...
Nice site, and a big bonjour to everyone from Paris !

Cheesewench said...

Hi there anonymous. Literal translation of the cheese is "strand of love" one of my friends said that when he lived in France he heard it translated as "breath of love" due to the herbaceous quality of the cheese. Maybe he was pulling my leg, I dunno.

We do not sell the cheese when it has the big fluffy mold on it. That cheese is still very young and has not completely ripened. I have rarely seen it for sale in that condition, but when we first get them into the shop they are indeed covered in fluffy mold. The head buyer at the shop calls it cat hair mold. I prefer to stay food related and call it cotton candy.


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