May 2, 2014

May Work, May Not: Pavé de Pontlevoy

This month, we have the following national holidays, on which there is no school, no work for Anthony, and virtually not anything else open, either:
yesterday, Thurs May 1 (May Day)
next Thurs May 8 (World War II Victory Day)
the last Thurs May 29 (Ascension Day)
(And Whit Monday hits on June 9)
Of course with so many Thursday holidays, families are tempted to take the Friday off, too. Depending on the age and school, this could potentially give the children a 4 1/2 or 5-day holiday. Families are actively discouraged from taking their children out of school on Friday, but of course these are French people we are talking about, so they take off the Friday anyway. Nothing is more sacrosanct than time off. And for one vacation day off of work, you can get a 4-day trip to the country. So why wouldn't you, frankly?
When you take the Friday here, it's called the "pont" day -- the bridge day. For the Ascension holiday, the girls' schools have thrown in the towel and simply announced that Fri May 30 is also a vacation day, but for the others, they can't expect more than about 75% attendance, if they're lucky.

So, if I seem a little behind on everything, i.e. not only keeping up with this cheese blog, but also pitching/writing any articles, catching up with everything I missed during the two weeks we were just away in Turkey because of Easter vacation, and writing up the Turkey trip for you all, perhaps you'll understand. And if I say I will call you on Tuesday, and it doesn't happen till Friday, it's because I usually don't have any idea what day of the week it is. The entire country is unproductive -- or at best, sporadically productive -- this month. And if it sounds like I'm complaining about having too many days off, please just remember that days off of school do not mean days off for me, since I am a mother of two; on the contrary, I work harder (but get less visibly accomplished) when I'm taking care of the kids on their vacation days. Though I must admit, I do have fun with them.

May work? May not...

THE CHEESE: Pavé de Pontlevoy
In 1976, Martine and Jean-Pierre Moreau set themselves up at the Bellevue farm in Pontlevoy, in the department of Loir et Cher, which is the eastern end of the Touraine region. Since 2009, they have been producing and distributing some original artisanal cheeses, with additional milk supplied by local herds. Of these, the Pavé de Pontlevoy, so named because of the shape and the fact that a pavé is a brick (or cobblestone), is one of their more popular and original, sold only through a few high-end stores in Paris.

It's a mild, creamy goat cheese with just a slight tang and a whisper of goat farm in the aroma. It's a hard cheese to find, but an easy one to enjoy. I, of course, love it with a dash of honey or jam, but then again, I say that about all mild goat cheeses. It's just such a divine combination.


I knew that to talk about all these May holidays, on a day when many French people are taking a "pont" day in order to get a four-day weekend, I wanted a cheese with the word "pont" in it. Sharp-eyed readers who are also knowledgeable about French cheese will wonder why I don't pair it with the famous Pont l'Evêque, which I haven't used yet. Well, I've got something else very specific planned for that cheese, so Pontlevoy it is.


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