Jun 9, 2014

Abs of Chocolate: Le Douville


Let's face it. You do not get strong, defined six-pack abs by eating a lot of chocolate bars. So why are great abs in France called tablette de chocolat? The ridges on the chocolate bar show you clearly. And let's admit that you do not get strong, defined abs by drinking a lot of six-packs, either. I think how we describe those kind of ripped abs says something about both the beer-guzzling Anglophone (Irish, English, Australian, and American) culture vs. the chocolate-snarfing French culture.


At first, I was afraid to post a photo of my gorgeous husband's tablette de chocolat as an example, because I thought he would hate me for embarrassing him by showing off his abs. Once I found this picture, however, I decide it's safe to show you all his tablette, because I know he will not hate me for embarrassing him by showing off his abs, since he will instead hate me for embarrassing him by showing you this bizarre mustache thingy. (It's a game my husband likes to play, sometimes, that I call "Fun with Facial Hair".) Though the photo is admittedly old (6 years old), and my husband admittedly older than that, his tablette de chocolat is just as defined today.

Coincidentally, Pippa, who in the photo above is exactly three years old, not only takes very much after Anthony, but she also loves the conditioning at gymnastics and, frankly, never stops moving. She now sports her own rather impressive, baby tablette de chocolat -- but I don't mean to diminish it, because her abs are a whole lot tablette-ier than mine!

THE CHEESE: Le Douville

Le Douville is a raw cow's milk cheese made just in one farmhouse in Douville-en-Auge, which is a town in Calvados in the Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy) region with a whopping 222 inhabitants. It is a strong -- really, really strong -- cheese very much in the style and tradition of a Livarot but, because it is not, technically a Livarot, and does not quite adhere to Livarot's AOC standards, it is instead Le Douville.

This does not mean I find Le Douville much more Le Edible than Le Livarot. Either way, they Le Stink. Really, a lot. The flavor of this cheese is fully developed, with strong hints of "Aaaarrgh!" and undertones of "Oh God, why me?!"

To be fair, I am tasting this cheese at a farm fair, and I've probably tried around 20 cheeses already by this point. So I may not be in the best frame of mind. But I can only choke down a bite, and then I subtly throw the rest away. Having said that, I respect the power of Le Douville (and Livarot) and understand that the texture is creamy, the flavor is robust, and that other (braver, possibly more sophisticated or more masochistic?) people will appreciate it. So if you like a strong stink, by all means, this could be a great cheese for you.


Le Douville has a criss-cross pattern on top, much like a tablette de chocolat, and much like the stomachs of certain members of my family (but not me). Also, like a good tablette de chocolat (the abs, that is, not an actual chocolate bar), Le Douville is very, very, very strong.


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