Jul 23, 2014

The Venise of Aprémont: Le P’tit Maillezais


We are just back from the self-proclaimed Venice of the North, Brugge Belgium, which is not as much of a Venice as Venice itself is. We are visiting friends in the Vendée to enjoy a little rural French life for just shy of a week. We start our trip with a pedal-boat ride in the self-proclaimed Venise d'Aprémont. It sure isn't the Venice of anywhere else.


We do not get to see a ragondin (which translates into English as "nutria", though this seems just as foreign to me as the French word). Pippa calls it a rat-dragon so many times, I know am incapable of remembering the real word. Actually, to be more precise, none of the rest of us see a ragondin, though Pippa claims to have seen one. Just as I might claim to see pregnant Elvis in a UFO.

Honestly: what is a nutria? I detour for a moment, to research it and tell you that it is also known as a swamp beaver, and that it looks like this (although Pippa already knows what it looks like, of course).

The pedal boats on the canal are a lovely way to start a visit. We are reminded how rural so much of France is outside of Paris (the Venice of Ile-de-France, that is).


THE CHEESE: Le P’tit Maillezais

Le P’tit Maillezais is a cheese from the Vendée made of half-cow, and half-goat's pasteurized  milk. I would like to say that it's not half-bad. But it is. More than half-bad in my opinion, in that it commits the ultimate cheese sin: blandness.

It's a white-rind half-soft cheese that's rubbery in texture. While I haven't actually confirmed it, I would stake the chocolate dessert waiting for me in the kitchen that this is an industrial cheese. In any event, it's certainly a very commercial one, found in the aisle of the supermarket and not terribly high-quality.

At least it's cheap: on sale for 2.95€.
Not only is this cheese made in the region, it is also produced by the Union Laitière de la Venise Verte: the Dairy Union of the Green Venice. What is it with people proclaiming to be the Venice of wherever they are?


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