Life doesn’t get much better than mouldy cheese (we’re all about Canadian spelling here)! My friend Barbara helped me research mouldy cheese at Salt Tasting Room, at the end of a very long day. We each had a generous portion of Spanish Valdeon blue cheese, mine with Similkameen Valley honey (still ensconsed in the comb). In memory of summer we shared a lovely bottle of La Stella rosé, a wine that refuses to give up its white dancing shoes even though labour day has long passed, but still has the chutzpah to stand up to a strong mouldy blue.
Originally, my plan was to pick up a blob of Époisses, possibly the second-stinkiest cheese in the world (an unpasteurized wonder of smelly gooeyness that can require a spoon to serve, described by the lovely Diana as “ewww… mmmmm”), and pair it with a big, bold wine (I’m particularly fond of the Fitou appellation). Work got in the way, as it does.
My penchant for Époisses got me thinking about North American hysteria about unpasteurized milk, and in particular the 1999 listeriosis scare when a woman in France died as a result of eating bad Époisses. As Taras Grescoe points out in The Devil’s Picnic (2005), however, the murderous Époisses was in fact of the substandard pasteurized variety (confirmed); the listeria was born of unclean factory conditions (Grescoe reports that the villianous factory now produces plastic).
So there you have it. Celebrate mouldy cheese, preferably unpasteurized. It’s not the raw milk that will kill you; it’s the crap mass-production factory conditions.
Share it with a dear friend and find a good wine to drink with it.