Sometimes I can't begin to think rationally about politics. I have a good idea, a rant and then I get a little too emotional to write rationally. That's a good thing, sometimes, but...
When it happens too often, I realize it is time to write about the cheese of the month!
And here is this month's cheese, and a handsome cheese it is! A good old Vielle Mimolette!
My first impression of Mimolette was in the supermarket, here in France. I like to make Mexican Food and one important element in recreational Mexican cuisine is cheese.
You need a cheese for nachos, a cheese that melts well over the enchiladas, a cheese that resembles the cheese of Mexico....
When I saw Mimolette in it's commercial wrapper, it looked perfect. In fact, a young Mimolette is perfect, in flavor, color and texture and price. It is a great artificial shade of deep yellow/orange and the mild flavor resembles a mild, young commercial cheddar. Mimolette is the cheese I use for Mexican cuisine.
Bur the diference between a young Mimolette and the cheese that is referred to as a Vielle Mimolette ends abrubtly. A young cheese, which is a cows milk cheese, has a orange red waxy covering. The cheese is intensely colored with anchiote, the yellow food dye thta colors many cheeses.
The history of the cheese begins with Louis XIV, who admired Dutch Edam, another cheese covered with red/orange wax. The waxy cover is a story in itself. There was quite a wine trade with Holland. The boats would take casks of wine to Holland and then fill the holds up with Dutch Edam for the voyage back. There was always a lot of leakage from the wine and the holds of the ships were stained with the wine and the cheese skins always picked up the red coloring. The color was adopted as tradition and remains to this day.
Because of the wars of the 15th and 16th century, this trade was disrupted often, but the taste for the cheese was so popular that the King ordered a cheese made in the tradition of Edam to be made in France but colored with anchiote to differenciate the two.
Mimolette is made in North Eastern France, in the vicinity of Lille, where it is sometimes called Boule de Lille.
The red wax coated cheese is sold young and mass produced, but the same cheese, made with the same techniques, uncoated and aged becomes something very different.
The Vielle Mimolette could be mistaken for a cantaloupe. They are about the same size, but a boule of Mimolette weighs about 2 kilos. The outside rind is grey and textured like a melon due to the action of intentionally introduced cheese mites. The cheese mites, which are little arachnids, actually cause some varieties of cheese to change flavor...it becomes sweeter. The flavor of an aged Mimolette is deep, sharp and sweet. It has a hazelnut like tones. It is an absolutely delicious cheese. The action of the aging also makes it become a hard cheese.While young Mimolette is a relatively inexpensive cheese, Vielle Mimolette, due to the strictly controlled technique, is a much rarer and pricey matter, but to me, well worth it.