This past weekend we had the pleasure of the company of our "French" daughter Fiona and her family. When I say family, I mean Fiona, her husband Juan Fernando, and their daughter Luna, who is now 13 months old. I had only met Luna in person once before - in March 2014 - and although we had "Face-timed" occasionally and thus been able to watch her develop, the opportunity to see her in the flesh had only arisen that once. It was lovely to see them all. Other than holding your own child in your arms, the best thing in the world is to cuddle your baby granddaughter! Luna was understandably a little apprehensive of me at first, though she was keen to play with all the toys we put in front of her, and I'm sure if she had been here longer she would soon have come to terms with the situation and accepted me as a friend and ally.
Unfortunately, since both Luna's parents work for the UN they are reluctant to have the internet plastered with photos of her so I am not going to publish any. Instead, I am going to write today about another of my favourite things: cheese!
Fiona and Juan brought with them from their home in France some French cheeses. These are cheeses that are commonplace in France, but relatively rare in the UK. Yes, you can buy them in specialist shops, but not in everyday supermarkets.
This is probably my favourite cheese of all (and that is a VERY contentious subject!). It is Brillat Savarin:
"Brillat-Savarin is a soft, white-crusted cow's milk cheese with at least 75% fat ". This one comes from the "Reflets de France" range, which showcases archetypical French food products.
Treated properly, this is a really first-class cheese, creamy, tasty, delicious. Ideal for spreading on a salty cracker, served with a ripe apricot.
It is very different to this next one, Comté which is a hard cheese. It originates from the Franche-Comté region of Eastern France, geographically not far from Geneva where Fiona and Juan work.
According to the label, this one is aged 30 months. It is slightly reminiscent of a good Cheddar - almost nutty. Good to eat with a nice crisp apple.
You can see that despite being a local, ordinary everyday cheese, it is not cheap - nearly 20 euros per kilo. Still, it is definitely worth it!
This is the final one - Cantal. It comes from the Auvergne area, right in the geographical centre of France. Technically, this is a "semi-hard" cheese. Not as firm as Comté, but a lot firmer than Brillat-Savarin. Read about it by following my link to the Wikipedia entry.
These French cheeses are a pleasant change for us, having recently been eating mainly Stilton , Cheddar, Lancashire and Shropshire Blue, all very English cheeses. Cheese, generically, is one of my favourite foods, but there are just so many different types of cheese that it is practically impossible for me to say which is my favourite one. It just depends on my mood, and on what else I am eating at the time. Can you say which is YOUR favourite one?