Cheese with an extra side of cheese please.

After living in Montreal for a while, there are a lot of things about that city I could miss. I could miss the unique language or the beautiful, historic, architecture in the Old Port but I think the thing I miss the most is having a nice cheese spread after a big meal.

There aren’t many things I love more than good cheese. From my experience, French people also love their cheese. In the neighborhood I lived in, there was a fromagerie on every other block. Looking in the windows on my way to work, I could see all these cheese sitting in the brightly lit cases, tempting me like a siren. Occasionally they’d lure me onto the rocks (aka the front counter) and I’d buy a little block of Gruyere for more than I should probably be spending on cheese.

The best was when I would be invited to a nice dinner and my roommate’s parent’s house. In French culture, there are many courses to a meal. A standard dinner party will have five courses. It usually starts with an aperitif (an alcoholic drink served before the meal) and some hors d’oeuvres. Then you move on to the main entree followed by a salad. After you’ve made it through the first few courses, you finally get to enjoy the cheese plate. There are typically four to seven different cheeses offered. We usually had camembert, brie, a goat cheese, gruyere, and a blue cheese.

Camembert and brie are creamier, richer cheeses. They ripen in a bloomy rind and are made with pasteurized milk to pass food safety standards.

Goat cheese is pretty straight forward. We always went with a firmer finish.

Gruyere is a hard, Swiss cheese made from cow’s milk.

And lastly, blue cheese, as unappetizing as it sounds, is cow or goat’s milk with mold marbled through it.
danish blue cheese

After all that cheese comes dessert but let’s be honest, who would want dessert when you could continue to eat gruyere with a little black pepper sprinkled on top? I know don’t.

Living in Montreal has seriously caused me an expensive habit. I used to make fun of the people at the grocery store standing at the “fancy cheese” counter taking their time to pick the right cheese. I am that person now and I have reluctantly accepted it. Looks like I need to take a trip back to that cheese-loving city soon.


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