Cheesy Christmas 19: Fourme de Montbrison

Cheesy Christmas 19: Fourme de Montbrison

Hmmm… we approached this cheese with a healthy dose of fear and trepidation… or at least I did.

You see, it’s another that we had last year, and when having a ‘repeat cheese’, I never disclose last year’s score to the family before we’ve given this year’s score. I don’t want to set expectations. But this cheese did not score particularly well last year.

Would this year be different?
Let’s find out…

Just 6 Cheeses Left

Well… we unpackaged the final 6 cheeses of this year’s Cheesy Christmas. Sometimes they come sealed up and sometimes not. Typically though, when they come sealed… it’s a sign that these are some of the ‘smelly cheeses’.

*immediate nervousness*
(smelly cheeses don’t often go down well)

Word History

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 the good part…

Day #19: Fourme de Montbrison

  • Name: Fourme de Montbrison
    *See above*
  • Region: Loire
    This cheese is another designated origin cheese, meaning that it’s not simply coincidental that this cheese is made in the Loire department… it’s just about the only place it can be made. In fact this cheese is so narrowly associated with the territory, that it’s pursuing UNESCO designation as a cheese with world heritage status… as traces of this cheese and its association with the region can be traced back to the 8th and 9th centuries! 😳
  • Milk: Pasteurized Cow’s milk
    It takes about 10L (2.5gal) of milk to make 1kg of cheese and all of this
  • Our Score: 4.1/5
    It turns out that my initial fear & trepidation was unfounded. After reading a long description of how this cheese was made, we cut it up, spread it around and everyone tried it. Timo took a bite, but didn’t want to finish (it IS a blue cheese afterall), Sophie was quick to volunteer to eat the rest of his piece, and the rest of us savoured. So yes, it IS a blue cheese (complete with the penicillium roquefortii bacteria), but as you can see, it’s not as blue as some of the cheeses we’ve had. So all in all, it was a really beautifully textured, creamy, mild blue cheese that was a real treat!

Cheese quote of the day

Jeffery Russell, gives a pretty plain description of the cheese-making process in his book “The Dungeoneers”… somehow, cheese is a little less appealing after reading his description.

“Cheese, where you takes liquid from a cow lady’s business parts, mix it with a bit o’ juices from a baby cow’s fourth stomach and then let it grow all fuzzy-moldy for a few years, eh?”

Kind of puts cheese into a whole new light! ew…

Happy Cheesy Christmas….
See you tomorrow for cheese #20

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