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Feb 14, 2014

Disasters in Lingerie: Bouton de Culotte

THE STORY:
 
We're not huge gift givers in our family, but Anthony decides to buy me a romantic gift of Parisian lingerie. He hands me bright blue lingerie that could be used to help guide ships back to shore through the fog, saying "I know you like things that are colorful." Um, it's the thought that counts? Luckily, he also hands me the gift receipt and assures me his feelings will not be hurt if I exchange it.
 

Or, as it turns out, exchange it, double the price of it, and walk out with definitely the prettiest (and most expensive) lingerie I have ever owned, from the high-end Laure Sokol boutique. The specific lingerie is not pictured here because, much to the surprise of my husband and family, I actually do have some sense of privacy. But let's just say that it's very, very turn-of-the-century Parisian, very sexy (as all good lingerie must be), and even has some tiny Eiffel Towers on it -- just to really drive home its Parisian-ness.
 
 
 
I am aware that Paris doesn't have the monopoly on lingerie, but I don't think it's quite so prevalent in other places I've been. Here, there are multitudes of lingerie stores, proudly displaying skimpy numbers on the mannequins in the windows and on enormous billboards. I field some interesting questions from my daughters.
 
  
 
The lingerie runs the full gamut of styles, colors, and price levels.

 

Hey, I didn't say it was all classy.

 
And, by the way, you are pronouncing it wrong. It's not "lawn-zhe-ray" as we say in our Frenchified English -- with the first syllable sounding like "lawn". In true French, the first syllable rhymes more with can, fan, or tan: "lan-zhe-ray".
 
THE CHEESE: Bouton de Culotte

Let's start with the name of this raw goat's milk cheese which means, literally Underwear Buttons (or Panty Buttons, if you prefer). It is also sometimes known as Cabriol or Chevreton du Mâconnais, and it is -- not surprisingly -- related in region and cheesemaking style to a Mâconnais. This makes sense, since the cheese hails from Mâconnais and Haut-Beaujolais, in Burgundy. In many pictures I find, they're even shaped like the plug-like Mâconnais. But in real life when I find them, they are invariably flattened discs -- like buttons.



The Bouton de Culotte can be eaten young, but it pretty much never is. When it is aged for around two months, it gets older, harder, and drier, and the taste of pepper becomes more pronounced. There's a sort of zingy kick at the end of the bite.

It is generally thought to be the smallest goat cheese and, possibly, the smallest of all cheeses (so small, that you can just imagine how firm it is after two months of affinage). You might even call it skimpy.

THE CONNECTION:

Sure, it would have been the obvious choice to make today's cheese a Coeur de Neufchatel, for example. What could possibly look more Valentines-y?



Or a Petit Valentin. What could possibly sound more Valentines-y?


But in the end, I really just want to write about fabulous French lingerie, which makes an excellent Valentine's gift for your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, and/or mistress. What could be more French? Bouton de Culotte is produced from December through March and, therefore, also can add a little spice on Valentine's Day.

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