Quotes

Aug 22, 2014

Smile, Urine Paris: Senteur de la Pigière

THE STORY:

Sometimes the great summer weather falls conveniently on the weekend. Whether it's the few Parisian who are left here holding down the fort or hordes of tourists, the gorgeous weather drives what seems like the bulk of Paris' inhabitants to the banks of the Seine.




At night it's a huge party. I don't want to disturb this older couple's romantic picnic, so I surreptitiously take the photo once I'm past. They have brought out a folding table and covered it with a tablecloth and about a dozen votive candles in little jars.

 
Another couple seems to be a young couple dating; we're guessing it's early stages, as one of them seems to have brought out a whole kitchen cart in order to make it a special date. Anthony and I are out for a stroll, and it brings a smile to our faces to see not just these couples and people of all ages and stages enjoying the Seine.
 
  
  

But there's a real downside to all this river-side partying. It's become more and more noticeable that... how shall I put this delicately?...people are pigs. It makes me so sad that so many people simply picnic, party, and split, leaving all their litter along the river. I don't remember this problem when we first got here a few years ago, and my Parisian friends tells me it's not just my imagination; it seems to be getting much worse. The city tries to clean it up, but what they clean up on Saturday morning after a raucous Friday night simply reappears by Sunday morning. It's disheartening.



And along with that, of course, is the problem that there are very few public bathrooms in Paris and virutally none on the quais. So what is a 20-something year old who's been drinking wine for four hours supposed to do? Well, there are some bridges and nooks and crannies here and there for when nature calls.


So, while I applaud getting out and enjoying the scene on the Seine, until the next rain, at least, the hot stone steps and cobblestones along certain areas of the Seine, and around much of downtown Paris, have a distinctly, unpleasantly urban odor.
 
THE CHEESE: Senteur de la Pigière
 
Col de la Pigière is located at the edge of Rhône-Alpes and Provence. This cheese, the Senteur de la Pigière ("Scented One from the Pigière") is a raw goats' milk cheese that comes from the area, on the Provence side, and is name after the area.
 

Senteur de la Pigière (above) is very much like its big brother Le Jabron (below). Yes, I'm aware they look almost identical. The exterior of the Senteur de la Pigière is whiter and blotchier, though still infused lightly with thyme.

 
The Senteur de la Pigière is, basically, a smaller version. In this case, the difference in size is very slight, and the flavor is very slight, too. In fact, it's hard to tell if the difference is because they're different cheeses, or just because they're different specimens. But at least they're both delicious! They're creamy, soft, melty, and delicate with mild hints of goat, salt, and thyme.
 
THE CONNECTION:
 
The Senteur de la Pigière has a name that's odiferous, but it's not really particularly stinky, after all. Whereas Paris, which shouldn't stink, does. And while the Pigière is simply the name of an area in France, I can't help but make the connection with the word "pig" and the fact that so many of these picnickers are leaving their spots looking like a pig sty indeed.
 

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