In the interest of trying another thing from France while on our recent trip, we turn now to French cheese which is one of the foods which the French consume alot of. Now one of the cheeses that my wife had told me about which purportedly has health benefits, was the Roquefort cheese from the South of France. It is a sheep milk blue cheese, which is matured in caves to attain the distinct veins of blue mold. There are studies which have reported that it has health benefits due to the specific anti-inflammatory properties it has. Hence as we were in the South of France, it made sense for us to buy some back to try.
There is the phenomenon called the “French paradox”, where despite having a diet high in saturated fat, the French people have a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease. It is postulated that the consumption of these blue cheeses, and regular consumption of red wine, due to inherent health benefits present in each of these, helps lower the risk of coronary heart disease.
But to ease us into the whole cheese eating process, and also to cheer us up after a certain event happened to us in France (which I will talk about in another post), I bought a platter of local cheese for us to try with the local red wine. This served as a promising start, as we enjoyed this with local red grapes and the Bourgogne red wine from Burgundy. Three of the cheeses were enjoyable, but we just could not eat much of the Rocamadour. The experience we had did help us feel better and spur us on to try the Roquefort cheese.
Now my favourite supermarket in France is Carrefour for very good reasons, as it is possible to buy nearly everything we need or want to get there. Hence it should come as no surprise that I also managed to find Roquefort cheese available to buy there. I bought 3 packs of this for my wife and I to eat, probably to accompany some red wine or Port.
I have to say on opening the packaging, the smell of this cheese instantly hit our sense of smell – and it was very pungent. Now we do like the fact that it tastes very salty – which is something we like – but it also has what can be described as an acquired taste and does take quite a bit of getting used to. It is unlikely that we would be able to eat much of this at any one sitting as it does launch a full blown assault on the olfactory senses; in fact my wife is no longer keen to eat it after the first tasting, unless there is something to soften the blow.
My wife and I found that the best way to make this cheese more palatable was to have something sweet with it. In France, the natural food item to pair with this was red grapes grown in that region – the sweetness of the grapes did mask the taste of the cheese, as did the red wine from the Burgundy region. I suspect that this is unlikely to be on my menu again once we finish the batch of cheese we bought from France. But at least we have tried this king of the cheeses which we bought while on our trip in the South of France. And although the short duration of consuming this is unlikely to have a significant impact on our health (through increasing HDL cholesterol and lowering cholesterol etc), at least we did give it a try.