First Bite: Rocamadour

Sorry, Wisconsin. Paris puts you to shame.

Growing up in America’s Dairyland made me a lover of all things cheese. I adore the walk-in refrigerated cheese closets found in many a Wisconsin supermarket. But I’m in absolute bliss among the open-air market sellers and fromageries found all across Paris.

Picture this: We’re fresh off the plane. Dusk draws the sky purple and shoplights glisten across the rain-slickened streets. We literally stumble on ancient stone before the doorfront of Fromager B. Lefranc. The roly-poly man’s window is full of chevre. Inside, a cloud of cheese stink whops my head. We buy a little round nubbin of Rocamadour and I grab from a bin a little booklet, “The Protected Designation of Origin Cheeses.”

Our little patty of goat’s milk cheese has been stamped AOC, Appellation d’Origine, meaning its gastronomical heritage is protected by law. It is part of the cabécous family of “little goat” cheeses in the Langue d’Oc (an old southern French language). The name stems from a village in the center of this region where little goat cheese is made.

I smell goat in this little circle of cheese. One whiff, and I am beside our neighbor Bootsie, his partner goat wife, and their two little ones who live across the field from our New Mexican backyard. I realize most people might prefer their cheese NOT smell like the animal from which it came; I mean this description in the best possible sense. I feel the field in this little package of creamy cheese. I taste the fresh air and, yes, the essence of goat. It is delicious.

But we do not finish it all. Jerry carries the remainder in his bag. And later that night, the remnants emit a subtle odeur that slowly permeates his bag, our room and everything around us until we remidy the situation. Ooh-la-la!

Cheese stall, Marché Biologique Raspail

3 thoughts on “First Bite: Rocamadour

  1. Hi Karen, I have a post in my blog too with a picture of Rocadamour too. We drove pass Rocadamour when we were in the Dordorgne region this SUmmer. This cheese used to be called ‘Cabecou’ in the old days for a long time. Tried it this summer.I was thought to eat it with a drizzle of walnut oil on top. Very important to keep the cheese for an hour before eating if it has been kept in the fridge.http://janetching.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/summer-vacation-in-southwest-france-part-ii-sarlat-in-the-dordogne/

    Since you like cheese so much, if you happen to come to visit Alsace, there is an excellent place for cheese and wine you have to pay a visit. I have posted my pictures in Facebook. Do you have a FB account?

  2. Hi Janet,
    Thanks for pointing me in your direction. Looks lovely! I would love to visit, but the question is when. I do expect to pass through France again in April, but time may be limited.

    I do have a Facebook account but almost never use it. Time constraints, again.

  3. not only a fabulous cheese, but an incredible town, all the buildings constructed of large blocks of local stone. quite a sight, illuminated by the setting sun. i remember it well

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