May 9, 2014

Fish Friday: Bûchette de Lure


Sure, Pippa may have four-course lunches served to her table at her little private school, but let's not forget that it's a little private Catholic school, and you know what that means...the dreaded Fish Friday. Our little girl is not a huge fan of fish anyway, unless it's a beautifully-cooked piece of salmon, ideally with a lovely lemon-cream sauce. And let's just say, that's not what the school usually gives them.

Sometimes, there are fish sticks (acceptable to Pippa and some of the children), various cuts of mystery fish in various sauces (not acceptable to the vast majority of the children), and frequently, for some reason, diced fish cubes in curry sauce (need I say?). But the ultimate crime against fish -- and potatoes -- is brandade.

And it's not just at the school, brandade is also served in restaurants. And just what is it? Tiny fish chunks -- or, even worse, fish purée -- mixed inside mashed potatoes. I've served and eaten this exactly one time, when I accidentally bought purée de pommes de terres with Alaskan hake blended in from Picard, believing it to be simply mashed potatoes. The girls, Anthony, and I all hated it (of course we did! It's fishy mashed potatoes!), but at least Anthony and I never have to eat it again, as long as we remember the name for this dish when we're reading menus at the local brasseries.

THE CHEESE: Bûchette de Lure

Made in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, a Bûchette de Lure does not, confusingly, come from the town of Lure, which is in the department of Haute-Saône in the Franche-Comté region. Was it originally made in the mountain town of Lure, and then transferred down to Provence?

One famed cheese-maker, Pierre Gay, located in Annecy, the mountains in the Rhone-Alpes, and therefore exactly halfway between Lure and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, like to slice it up and serve it as a tangy little aperitif.

This is a hard cheese to find out much about, other than the obvious. The obvious, of course, is that it's a goat-cheese log with a toad-skin crust that actually looks more like an actual toad than most. This is probably because of the greenish hue to the mold. It's got a thick texture and medium-strength goat flavor, and the crust is not to be feared, but rather enjoyed. Trust me. Would I steer you wrong?


The cheese is delicious; the brandade is not. So why this pairing? The word "lure" of course. The fish pun just lured me in.


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