Monday, 3 March 2008

St Felicien

Until about 5 years ago, I didn’t really eat cheese. I sometimes left in on my pizza, instead of ordering without or pulling it off in a single, greasy layer. And I occasionally enjoyed creamy, mild goat’s cheese, the kind that came in a clear, button-shaped tub at the supermarket. But on the whole, no cheese.

Five years, I also don’t remember having any cellulite. Go figure.

I was reflecting on the cellulite yesterday because I spent most of the afternoon naked, and a portion of that time having my thighs scrubbed raw by a woman who I wouldn’t want to meet in a back alley. But I took a quick look around the hamman (Turkish steam bath). The French woman, even the skinny ones, have it too. Must be the cheese.

But let me tell you about a cheese that, unless you are regularly photographed for Hello, you should be eating now.

Jerome, my local fromagier, is currently selling St. Felicien. Also known as Tentation de St. Felicien, this is a lightly-aged, raw-milk cows’ cheese from France’s Rhone region. Approximately the size and shape of a large hockey puck, St. Felicien has soft, bloomy crust and a creamy, even molten interior, the result of using caille doux, or sweet curds, in the production. The flavour is mild and ever so slightly sour, the texture gloriously smooth and unctuous but not cloying. You could warm it in the oven until it was totally liquid, but it works quite well at room temperature, scooped up with a spoon. As well as being delicious, it’s probably the sexiest cheese I’ve ever encountered.

To say any more would be incedent. Anyway, unless you see me beach-side, something that hasn't happened for a good number of years, you won't be catching a glimpse of that cellulite anyway.

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