Apr 7, 2014

One Choo Three: Coeur de Chèvre


The first time a person sneezes in France, the correct response is "A tes souhaits" meaning "To your wishes." That's assuming you're familiar with the sneezer. If the sneezer is a stranger, you say "A vos souhaits" which still says the same thing, just more formally.

A second sneeze in quick succession earns a "A tes amours" (or "A vos amours") meaning "To your loves."

And the third sneeze in a row gets a "Qu'ils durent toujours." "May they last forever." Or, alternatively, it might also get a "Qu'ils soient nombreux et courts" which means "May they be numerous and short." When I ask a French person why you would want your loves to be short, she wonders why I would even both asking. "So you can have more of them, of course" Ah, how very French.

At the fourth sneeze, you are -- sadly -- out of both luck and blessings.

THE CHEESE: Coeur de Chèvre

Coeur de Chèvre is, as the name suggests, a heart made of goat. Well, in this case, goat's cheese. Actually a goat's actual beating heart would also be called a coeur de chèvre, but somehow I think context will tell you everything you need to know in order to not mix them up.

It's technically a soft cheese from Deux-Sèvres Poitou-Charente, on the Atlantic Coast of France. But "soft" is quite a misnomer. While the heart starts out tender, it hardens over time (and doesn't that just sound like a sad metaphor?). Once it's been aged several weeks, it's a firm, raw goat's milk cheese that just keeps getting harder and saltier as it ages. It's delicious, but of course I am a sucker for all goat cheeses and all unusually-shaped cheeses. After over 100 cheeses, I'm also becoming quite partial to cheeses with names that are easy to remember.

Am I the only who find these spots of greenish mold absolutely beautiful? And am I the only one that finds Coeur de Chèvre de Deux-Sèvres to be a particularly poetic phrase?


Your loves may last forever, but this lovely heart-shaped cheese won't. It's too small, it's too delicious, and if you did eat it after an eternity, I think it would be both rock hard and rancid.

May you not only be free from sneezes, and with loves and dreams that last eternally, but may you also have a heart that starts out tender and hardens -- but only enough to survive life's disappointments. Here's hoping your heart remains as tender and fresh as it can possibly be.


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