May 19, 2014

Monumental Prize: Crottins de Vache


The girls have a casual, but growing, collection of coins from French national monuments. These are faux gold coins, souvenirs of monuments visited, usually sold in a machine at the exit of the tourist site and costing 2€.

In our house, the Tooth Mouse likes to bring appropriate coins, along with whatever cold, hard cash he delivers -- generally a few euros. Thanks goodness the Tooth Mouse always seems to know where we've been but failed to buy souvenir coins, and he almost always provides the perfect coin at the perfect time, slipped in along with 3 regular euros. How fortunate that Gigi always seems to lose her teeth in amazing, monumental places.

By the caves in the Dordogne...


...and on a hike in Italy. Yes, some of our monument coins are foreign. They're not exactly the same but similar. It seems to be a Western Europe thing.


On our latest trip to the Loire Valley, she pulls out her own dangling tooth at the castle where we are staying. And, by pure coincidence, the Tooth Mouse had purchased a Chateau d'Ussé coin (in the center below) the day before without even realizing how handy it would be the following evening.

In this series of before, during, and after photos, does anybody else like how the new gaping black square in her smile echoes the gaping black windows in the castle?


THE CHEESE: Crottins de Vache

These are little cow turds -- literally, that is. In fact, they are raw cow's milk cheeses named "cow turds" and, well, kind of shaped like them, too. Some would argue they smell like cow turds, but I wouldn't be among them, since I rather like the pungent stink of a moldy cheese. As they are made of raw cow's milk in Munster country (Alsace, that is), as opposed to goat's milk, however, they are rather stronger smelling and tasting than the similarly named and shaped Crottins Chavignol.

They are hard enough to rattle around inside a basket and to slice through one, or bite directly: They are, after all, quite small. But once in the mouth, not only does the flavor really kick in, it also gets creamy and velvety.


For just 2€, you can be the proud owner of small, round disk of cheese, or a small, round disk of a fake gold coin. But pray that the Tooth Fairy doesn't leave you a Crottin de Vache, because not only would it be very stinky under your pillow and mess up your sheets, but -- even worse -- the Tooth Mouse might come and eat your prize.


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