samedi 29 décembre 2012

La Fruitière - Jura, France

This region of France is known for the Comté cheese. Here one buys the comté at a local fruitière which is a  fromagerie or cheesemaking house. Each day the farmers deliver their milk to their local fruitière. It will be crafted into Comté within 24 hours maximum of milking.
There are normally 3 different kinds of comté , comté fruité - aged at least 6 months- comté doux - aged at least 8 - 10 months and comté vieux - aged 12 or more months.  I prefer the one that is aged as it is a bit stronger in taste, but the flavors of the cheese are more pronounced.

This particular fruitière had 3 of these copper vats  and each made 5 large molds of cheese

Checking the curd production - all done by hand.

copper vats

We had the pleasure of visiting the local fruitière in Pleure and were treated to a guided visit of how the fromagère* makes Comté.  He explained it takes 2000 litres of milk to make just 5 large rounds of Comté.  Milk is delivered each morning at 3 am by many different farmers - hence it is a cooperative.  Only the Montbéliarde or Simmental Cows are used for making Comté. The cheese is still produced using traditional methods. The unpasteurized milk is poured into huge copper vats which is standard for making Comté. No preservatives or additives of any kind are added. The standards are very strict for making Comté cheese.  There were just 2 guys in here making the cheese, mostly done all by hand except the machinery for mixing and pouring into the molds.  They make 5 molds at a time and during the winter about 16 per day. Production is increased during the summer as more milk is produced.  The Cheesemaker explained the cheese tastes different depending on the season, as the cows are eating more grass in spring and summer than in winter when they have a diet of hay.

After it is poured into huge industrial molds, each is given a label and then put into the cellar where it will affinage *** a minimum of 120 days. On a rotating basis, they check the molds rubbing them with a briny liquid mixture of gros sel* and water to the tops and sides, then returning another day to turn the mold over by hand to coat the other sides.

Not an easy way to make a living, but the fromagère was proud of his work and took time out of his busy morning to show us his traditional cheese making methods. If you have the chance to visit this area, be sure to inquire about visiting a fruitère to see how Comté is made.  Well worth the visit and something not to be forgotten.

Rotating the molds in the cellar
labels added to each mold referencing day of production, month and region

Look for the green label and the bell on each comté 

* cheesemaker
** large salt crystals


jeudi 27 décembre 2012

Poulet Fermier

 While in the Jura, I wanted to buy a really good farm chicken. At the local butcher, I opted for the "poulet noire de Bourgogne Fermier" which is raised for a minimum of 81 days in small flocks, has total access to outside, and its diet is only plant based.

The salesclerk pulled it out of the case and lo and behold, it had its head and feet still attached!! I don't know about you, but I am not used to all those parts still connected!  I asked her very shyly, you are going to prepare that for me, aren't you?  She looked at me funny, and said, yes, but of course, and off she went to do her chopping......( I guess most people have a cleaver in their backyard in these parts)

Two minutes later she was back with the chicken all wrapped and tied and ready to go. I cooked this baby up and I have to say it was one of the best tasting chickens I have ever eaten.

Next up, is the "poulet de bresse" from this region.

samedi 15 décembre 2012

Les Papilles

 If you are looking for a great meal at a decent price, you must try Les Papilles over by the Luxembourg Gardens. The owner is a former rugby player and serves up dishes from the southwest of France. There are 2 cooks that work in the tiniest of kitchens - you have to go out to turn around in it!! They cook and serve in beautiful copperware pots and they have an amazing wine selection from some of the smaller vineyards for both tasting and purchase.  I highly recommend the choices of the day.

I have eaten here several times and the portions are very generous. This resto has never failed to disappoint. Be sure to make reservations for lunch or dinner or you will be out of luck.

Boîte à Sardines

These days the trajet" to and from work is anything but pleasant - like so many of us that have joined the urban sprawl only to spend an hour each way in public transport to work in the big city. It's a price we pay for the more competitive jobs and money that go along with this choice.(I know, so of my EAB friends are smirking over this mention!!)  I love being squished in the train each day, face-to-face with other commuters who cough and blow on you like it's nothing. As we were welded against one another on the train, I overheard a man say on his telephone I am like a boîte à sardines**  - well said!!

P.S. The clerk in the grocery store was very curious as to why I was taking photos of sardine tins!!

* commute
** tin of sardines

samedi 8 décembre 2012

Japanese Book Store

 If you are looking for a neat bookstore to visit in Paris, look no further than Junkudo, on rue de Pyramids in the 1st. Yes, everything is in Japanese, but they have beautiful "how to" books on collage that are simple enough to follow by looking at the elegant images in the books.  They have agendas, beautiful handmade cards, and some of the most gorgeous origami paper I have ever seen - which of course comes with a hefty price.

If you are looking for an unusual gift, this is a go to place. They carry all those neat "Japanese" office supplies to help with organization. They also carry an assortment of bento boxes. The staff speak both English and French, and Japanese, of course.  Something for everyone - Happy Shopping!

lundi 3 décembre 2012

Everything sounds better à la francaise

My children keep asking me to buy Pain de Mie for breakfast. I thought to myself, wow this must be some fancy bread they want. Lo and behold, I go to the shop to buy it, and wouldn't you know, it's plain ole' paper plate tasting white bread!! I've been tricked.....  everything does seems to sound better in French....... c'est la vie!!