Monday, September 29, 2014

On the Hunt

the first cheese plate
So you may already know this, but I am still looking for an apartment here in Paris. I've spent the whole week chasing down leads and trying to find something livable, not too expensive, and accepting of a foreigner without the usual paperwork. It's not easy to find a place to live in any big city, let alone one where you don't know all the right words and don't have the right paperwork. And when you make basically no money. But whatever! I'm not discouraged yet (well, not at this moment).

at the Eiffel Tower
Unfortunately I haven't visited a cheese shop yet. Since I don't know where I'm living, it's impossible to find my "local" cheesemonger, and every time I've stumbled upon a market, I'm going somewhere and can't necessarily drag the chevre, figs, and jambon with me. The fancy cheeses are still to come, but as for now, I've been reacquainting myself with French grocery staple cheeses. So voilà!

My friend Al was here for a few days before he jetted off to his TAPIF post in the south of France. We did a little wine and cheese night together, and enjoyed two very basic French grocery cheeses: comté and Tartare. Comté is like the cheese you give your kids--hard, mild flavor, goes with everything. And Tartare is like a spreadable cheese with herbs, which is similar to Boursin, and sometimes comes individually, and adorably, packaged! We also may have purchased a bag of chips that were goat cheese and chive flavored. Verdict: delicious!

This weekend we decided to be very Parisian and had a picnic on Ile Saint-Louis, on the banks of the Seine. Pâté, Boursin, baguette, hummus, avocado, tomato, and nutella....oh, and a bag of rotisserie chicken-flavored chips, because why not. We were stuffed, and happy, and slightly buzzed off of several bottles of wine.

Wish me luck on my hunt for the perfect apartment! And then I will tell you all about my neighborhood cheese shop!

The three cheeses in all their packages^

picnic time
sunset on the Seine

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Day One; Cheeses 1, 2, and 3!

tasty, tasty, madame...
Hey friends and lovers. It's your jet-lagged old pal Nat, bringing you some good news from the other side of the pond: je suis arrivée!! I somehow made it from Charles de Gaulle, to a bus, to a taxi, to a café table in just over 3 hours with just over 100lbs of luggage. (Sidenote: what was I thinkingggg...) It seemed only right to celebrate, so I did just that, with two espressos, a kir de cassis, and a lovely croque madame. Let it be known that the croque madame is just a sandwich with cheese and does not count as cheese itself...

After waiting for another spectacular 3 hours for our Air Bnb host to arrive, we set about for a walking tour of our 'hood du jour: the 11eme! Home of the Canal St. Martin, and mere steps from the historic Marais, I decided it was fairly cool, though I was seeing it through a haze of cheesy grins and random pronunciations of "oh Paris!"

For dinner, it was decided that nothing was more fitting than bread, cheese, and some red wine. So we hopped over to the nearest boulanger (a 2 minute walk), and then continued onto the Franprix (5 minutes more).
the bleu and the goat

Our takings:

#1: The king of all bleus, St. Agur! My favorite bleu (that I didn't discover until returning to the States) is firmer over in France, but remains super smooth and takes you up to a sharp edge before leveling off into heaven...mmm...

#2: A smooth friendly babe, Chevre de l'Ardèche! She's a watery goat cheese, pasteurized but young, and is creamy with a baby goat bite at the end. I liked her best with the salami we picked up.

we need more of this stateside
#3: Your French mainstay, Camembert! It was a generic version, because we are poor homeless language assistants. Nevertheless, the mushroomy, stinkier cousin of Brie was everything I remembered, and was smooooth like butter. Cheesy butter.

All were enjoyed with heavenly fresh baked baguette! Next time though, I'm going in for baguette à l'ancienne...

Coming up tomorrow, I embark on the impossible task of finding a place to live in a huge city full of immigrants and people who speak French way better than I do. The plan is to round off my inevitable disappointment with De Clercq frites and a nice pint at WOS bar...wish me luck!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why. Just...why.

I'm moving back to France soon. This time, I will be a language assistant in a high school. Exciting! I'm sure you all remember my riveting au pair blog, Les Nouilles à Paris, from the last stint in Frogland. (It was gooood.) (Go reread that ish.) And when I return, I certainly anticipate a.) a modicum of crippling loneliness, and b.) plenty of free time. Which means...NEW BLOG. And this time there's a focus, instead of just rambly ramblings! It's cheese.


If you know me at all, you know that I love cheese. The people at the Kroger cheese counter know me; the people at Curds and Whey in Columbus offered me a job. But I just want to eat it. All.

The main purpose of l'Hommage à Fromage ("homage to cheese," for you French-challenged) is to document all the delicious cheese and cheese products I consume while abroad. I plan to photograph, name, and describe every delectable morsel of heaven. And along the way, you will probably hear about ma vie française! I do like to talk about myself.

So check back here periodically and see what kind of shenanigans I get myself into. Will I ever find that soft, spoonable cheese from Croatia/Corsica/wherever again? Will I go broke from buying a 50 euro truffle-infused brie? Can a woman live on cheese alone?

It's gonna be riveting.