Cheesy Christmas 16: Fourme de Montbrison

Cheesy Christmas 16: Fourme de Montbrison

We’ve already been, geographically and in terms of taste, right in the backyard of today’s cheese.

If you’ll recall, way back on Day 4 we say a Fourme d’Ambert. Now you see the connection, or at lease part of it. Not only do the names of the two cheeses share the same first word ‘fourme’, but their story goes back way further than that. In fact, they are connect to all cheeses in a neat way…

(Wondering ‘Why the daily cheese posts?’ read this 🙂 )

History of the two ‘Fourmes’

Note, on the map, the proximity of the two cheeses. Today’s cheese hails from the Loire department and Day 4’s Fourme d’Ambert comes from the Puy-de-Dôme department (light orange, on the left).

During the 1940s, they were both overseen by the same dairy administration and formal definitions of these cheeses were established. 1953 legislation authorized the naming of the two as well as a third (Fourme de Pierre sur Haute). In the 1970s, the two were jointly attributed a DCO (Designation of Controlled Origin; not quite the same as a DPO, but near enough) as ‘Fourme d’Ambert et de Montbrison’. In 2002, they each received their own DCO and eventually, in 2009, the Fourme de Montbrison received it’s DPO (Designation of Protected Origin), recognized on a European level.

History of Fromage

As I language person, I find super interesting… These cheeses still bear, in their name, the origin of the French word fromage.

The word ‘fourme’ comes from the Greek word ‘formos’, which eventually became ‘forma’ in Latin.

These words (formos, forma and later fourme) designated the containers in which milk was curdled prior to being made into cheese.

‘fourmage’ or ‘formage’ would be the process by which cheese was curdled and eventually took the form of the container. From there, it’s an easy step to ‘fromage’, the term we know and use today.

It’s believed that this cheese was being made by Gallic tribes who inhabited the region before the Roman conquest by Caesar. Scientifically, however, the earliest indication that this cheese was being eaten in the region dates from 8th-9th centuries.

To sum up then… “fourme de Montbrison” would be akin to an old French way of saying “the form (of cheese) from Montbrison.

Now, on to today’s cheese…

Day #16: Fourme de Montbrison

  • Name: Fourme de Montbrison
    Enough said! 🙂
  • Region: The Loire Department (see map above)
    (Not to be confused with the Loire River which cuts some 1,000 km (621 miles) through the nation, and flows as close as 72km (44 miles) from us.)
  • Milk: Pasteurized Cow milk
  • Our Score: 2.2/5
    As interesting as it was historically, it only got a 2.2 rating out of 5. If you recall Day 4’s Fourme d’Ambert, it wasn’t much better at 2.5. While neither cheese is as strong as, say, a Roquefort, they both remain, essentially, blue cheeses – with blue mold inside the cheese. Here, they don’t call it moldy, opting for the more palatable persillé (which makes you think of parsley). Anyway, it was a bit easier going down with a bit of bread, and combined with a touch of our ‘homegrown’ honey. Lovely & mild for a blue, if you’re a blue cheese lover, but for us… it was a bit lower on the Cheesy Christmas scale.

Cheese quote of the day

To continue on from yesterday’s ‘cheesy’ groaner-humour, a slightly revised version of Lionel Ritchie’s 1983 hit (ironically, yesterday’s Eurythmics song was also from 1983)

“Hello… Is it Brie you’re looking for?”

Happy Cheesy Christmas….
See you tomorrow for cheese #17

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