May 8, 2014

Who is Louis Castel?: Pavé de Moyaux


Who is Louis Castel? You have no idea, do you? But if you're on Facebook, you can easily find out. He's a fictional character created in preparation of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion, just a month from now, on June 6.

His Facebook postings go back to December 1943, which is impressive, since Facebook wouldn't even be invented for another 60 or so years.

Louis Castel starts his journey as French GI, based in New York City. Most of his early postings are only in French, but after a little while, they are translated into English also and published bilingually. There are great old photos, letters, cartoons, news reports, movie clips, and other true period documents to transport you back to World War II and the build up to the D-Day invasion. It tells the story of his life both on-duty and off. The story is set to continue until the day itself -- and possibly beyond?

all photos and images above downloaded from Louis Castel's Facebook page

If you are -- or you know -- a World War II buff, a teacher of French or history, a lover of old New York, or simply somebody who wants your time browsing on Facebook to be more intellectually stimulating, get to know Louis Castel.

THE CHEESE: Pavé du Moyaux

Some know this cheese as Pavé d'Auge (or, sometimes, Carré d'Auge, which means "Square of Auge"), named after the Auge area in Normandie where it was originally created at least as far back as the 13th century. It is sometimes referred to as the ancestor of the more-famous Pont-l'Evêque, though the texture is even thicker and firmer, and the taste even stronger, than it's descendant. The rind is white and the inside a slightly hole-y orange-yellow. And the creaminess surprises me. I like it, though I'm happy enough just to eat the samples and not buy the whole cheese. Of course, this could be because it is something like my 20th sample of the day.

During the period between the two World Wars in the 20th century, production of it was very limited, and almost entirely concentrated in the village of Moyaux, in the Calvados region of Normandie. Hence the name Pavé du Moyaux that has been more commonly used for it since around the time of the Second World War.

Pavé du Moyaux is a farm-house cheese with a washed rind made by just a few farms from raw cow's milk. It is aged in a cool and humid cellar, regularly washed for between two and three months. It is generally "in season" and available to eat starting in May and lasting until August. Because of its terroire -- its land of origin in Calvados -- it is often paired with a bowl of hard cider.


Today, May 8, is a national holiday in France -- World War II Victory Day. School, banks, and offices are all shut, the Republican Guard parades by, and it seems like the perfect time to introduce you to Louis Castel.

As for the connection between Louis and the cheese: the season for Pavé du Moyaux (aka Pavé d'Auge), starts right about now, in May, in an area in Normandie that those real life "Louis Castels" of WWII would have liberated, just inland from the D-Day Beaches, in the mid-20th century, around the time the cheese became known as Pavé du Moyaux. G.I.s like Louis might even have enjoyed some of this cheese when they weren't fighting.


Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Customized by Mihai