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Dec 23, 2013

Does Batman Smell?: Langres (Affiné à la Mirabelle)

THE STORY:

Some things are universal, like bastardizing Christmas songs. American children sing (and have always sung, and will always sing) to the tune of Jingle Bells:

Jingle bells, Batman smells,
Robin laid an egg.

I don't know the rest of the real words of the fake version because Gigi has bastardized the bastardized version so that it continues:

So who cares, about those two?
They are very stupid.

This, of course, is deliciously fun to sing because it includes the taboo "S" word.


Well, in France, the real words to the song are:

Vive le vent, vive le vent,
Vive le vent d'hiver...

(Long live the wind, long live the wind,
Long live the winter wind...)

But the children here sing, in endless loops, for weeks leading up to Christmas:

Vive le vent, vive le vent
Vive le vendredi
Car demain c'est samedi et on fui camp d'ici, hey!

Vive le vent, vive le vent
Vive le vendredi
Car demain c'est samedi et on fui camp d'ici.

On met l'école en feu
Tous les profs aux milieu
Aussi la directrice et on fou camp d'ici, hey!

(Long live Fri, long live Fri
Long live Friday
Because tomorrow is Saturday, and we'll flee from here, hey!

Long live Fri, long live Fri
Long live Friday
Because tomorrow is Saturday, and we'll flee from here, hey.

We'll set the school on fire,
All the teachers in the middle
And also the director, and we'll flee from here, hey!)

I'm so happy we've given our children this opportunity to immerse themselves so they can become fluent with the language and comfortable with the culture, and so that I can hear their sweet, angelic voices singing out this holiday classic. Repeatedly. Perhaps I should ask Santa to bring me ear-muffs, too.

THE CHEESE: Langres (Affiné à la Mirabelle)

A Langres is a classic cheese made from pasteurized cow's milk and named after the region where it originates, Langres, Champagne. Under its AOC labeling, it can also be made in immediate surrounding areas.



That characteristic crater on top of the cheese is not an accident, and not a result of an oozing cave-in. Rather, it's put there to serve as a holder for champagne -- or marc de champagne (which is a local liquor made from the grape skins leftover in the champagne-making process). But you don't drink the champagne from the stinky cheese. Rather, you dig in and get a little champagne to spread and eat with your cheese.

The orange color on the outside comes from a red dye extracted from annatto seeds (called rocou in French) and rubbed on during the ripening. The cheese is normally rubbed with marc de champagne throughout the process to help it develop its stinky, salty intensity. But in this particular case, it has been ripened with liqueur of mirabelles, a yellow-orange French plum variety. While it can still be called a Langres even if it is only aged 15 days (for a small, hockey-puck sized version like this, and 21 days for a bigger version), you can tell by the insane liquid pouring out of the center that this is a more fully aged and ripe version. Any riper and we'd need a straw to drink the cheese, let alone the champagne.
 
THE CONNECTION:

Does Batman Smell? We may never know the answer. But does this cheese smell? Most definitely. Plus, you can sing the name of this cheese to the same tune:

Mira-belle, Mira-belle,
Langres Affiné.
Oh what fun it is to try
this stinky cheese today. Hey!

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