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Jun 18, 2014

Sunrise, Sunset: Galette des Templiers

THE STORY:

We might as well be living in the Arctic Circle. Well, I exaggerate, but still it sometimes feels that way. It's hard to get the girls to sleep at their 9pm bedtime when there's still a bright blue sky outside. Even after three years, it still confuses me that the hottest part of the day hits around 5-6pm, so it feels and looks like early afternoon to me for hours afterwards.


At this time of year, the sun doesn't officially set till around 10pm (when the photo above is taken), and of course there's a bright ambient light that lingers after that. You've got to get up early and stay up late to see the sunrise and sunset.

 

So, the truth is that the best time to get sunrise shots is in the winter.

 
 

But you can be nice and relaxed and get a leisurely sunset photo in the summer. And have a picnic while you're at it.


Paris sits at 48°51′12″ North latitude. In comparison, New York is at 40°42′51″ North latitude and San Francisco is at 37°46′29″ North. But not only are we further toward the pole, Paris is also in the western part of the time zone. Together, those factors make the sun set even later in the evening and for many visitors (not just Americans), it's really noticeable and somewhat disorienting.

Even after three years here, the sweet sound of a summer evening around 8pm is punctuated by me yelling, "Oh, crap! I have to start making dinner!" Generally, on these nights when I completely lose track of time, we end up rushing through a dinner of eggs, pasta, or leftovers in order to try to get the kids to bed at a decent hour. But who are kidding? When 9pm looks like the middle of the day, they're not ready to sleep any more than I'm ready to start cooking.

THE CHEESE: Galette des Templiers
 
Galette des Templiers is a beautiful, unique-looking raw goat's milk cheese that hails from Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, near Sisteron.


It's related to Cathare (also known as Catal) cheese, which it resembles in many ways, other than the fact that while Cathar is ashed and gray, Galette des Templiers has a fine orange mold crust created with paprika and a hint of Marc alcohol (the liquor formed from the skins and remnants of wine-making). Also, it's octagonal instead of round. But like its grayish cousin, the Galette des Templiers is decorated with a bold imprint of the Cathar cross.



Galette des Templiers is a lactic cheese with a mild goat flavor -- a mild flavor in general, in fact. The crust really doesn't enhance or change the taste, and the cheese itself is very basic. But at least it's nicely creamy and hard to hate.
 
THE CONNECTION:

Not only does the Galette des Templiers look as though it's got a symbol on it for the cardinal directions (think latitude and longitude, though of course I know it's meant as a Christian cross), it's also tinged with reds, pinks, and oranges, and looks for all the world like a glorious rising or setting sun.

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