Today’s cheese is the last one that arrived in the initial shipment, meaning that we are 1/2-way through our Cheesy Christmas advent calendar. That’s hard to believe. How is it already December 12th!?
(Wondering ‘Why the daily cheese posts?’… read this 🙂 )
Doesn’t it even look like a bit of a Christmas gift?
All wrapped in silver paper (that, amazingly, survived the shipping process), it brought a bit of Christmas cheer to our mailbox.
The one thing inside, that we didn’t understand at first, was a white plastic, liquid-filled pouch. At first we wondered if it was maybe one of the cheeses, since we’ve all purchased different cheeses packaged in tubs of liquid (à la bocconcini, or feta at home). What puzzled us was that there was no sticker on it, indicating which day it was for. Then, realizing that there were 12 cheeses, with stickers, it occurred to us that this had been, in fact, an ice pack used to keep the cheese cool during shipment.
Now, onto the cheese itself…
Day #12: l’Estival
- Name: Estival
In French, ‘Estival’ is an adjective that can be used to describe anything ‘summer’. Where we’d say ‘a nice summer day’, the French would say ‘une belle journée estivale’. The name makes sense when you take into consideration that this cheese is only made with milk harvested during the summer months.
- Region: The other day you saw a cheese from the Haute Savoie region. L’Estival is from the Savoie, just beneath la Haute Savoie (see map). Specifically, the milk for l’Estival comes from the high prairies of the Chartreuse Mountains, part of the pre-Alps. In English, of course, we associate the word chartreuse with the colour green, and with good cause, the summer pastures of this region are of a lush green, perfect for grazing.
- Milk: Cow’s milk
As mentioned, the one particularity of the milk used for l’Estival is that only summer-harvested milk is used. Some say that, for this reason, you can almost taste the alpine flowers. Marketing speak? Try it and let me know what you think.
- Our Score: 4.66/5
Now, what’s surprising with this grade is that Liz calculated it in her head (savage math skills!)! Again, like yesterday, this was a nice firm cheese with a mild taste and minimal rind. Note the butter yellow colour, which does convey a lovely summery feeling. Traditional descriptions also ascribe to l’Estival a hint of hazelnut flavour, but we couldn’t see that. This cheese is typically aged for 6 months before put on the market.
Cheese quote of the day
For today’s quote of the day, let me change things up a bit and share, not a literary quote, but one from a regional products site where you can purchase this cheese here in France. I found it amusing:
“L’Estival is perfect for finishing off your meal or cheering up your summer cheese plate without straining your wallet.”
… in other words, it’ll cheer up your cheese plate and your wallet!
Happy Cheesy Christmas….
See you tomorrow for cheese #13