Oct 30, 2014

Leaf Peeping, Paris-style: Feuille du Quercy


Springtime in Paris may get all the songs, the glamour, and the love, but there's something pretty special about autumn in Paris, too. It's not New England, I admit. But you can get splashes of some pretty stunning color against the black-and-white backdrop of the city.

You know I'm partial to Notre Dame. So I just can't help myself. I really can't.


But that's not the only backdrop, or splash of color, that stops me short and makes me reach for my camera.


It's beautiful by Notre Dame, along the Seine, and it even makes the Montparnasse Tower look kind of pretty and romantic (kind of). And don't forget the local parks -- great spots for photos under those canopies of trees.

The best of the colors appears around mid/late October through late November, depending on the year. The problem with this year is that all of Northern France had a very, very odd summer; basically, it felt like autumn weather most of July and really all of August. Then in September, we suddenly got hot, summer-dress kind of weather. Suddenly, just a week or so ago and literally overnight, the weather went from hot summer to late fall -- very cold winds, rainy gray skies. And the leaves appear to be going straight to brown, and straight to the ground. So it is possible, my fellow fall fans, that this autumn will not be a spectacular one. But if some colors do appear, go out and grab your cameras.

THE CHEESE: Feuille de Quercy
Feuille de Quercy is an artisanal cheese from Alvignac, a commune (meaning village/town) in the department of Lot, in the Midi-Pyrénées region. Basically, it's right on the edge of La Dordogne within the borders of the National Park of Quercy; that and the shape pretty much explain the name.

I buy the cheese because of the name, and the shape, and also knowing it's a goat cheese from the Quercy area that's being sold at the fine Quatrehomme store, I'm quite sure I'm going to love it. But as it turns out, it's also high in Omega 3s! What's up with all these cheeses suddenly bragging about their Omega 3s? I have asked around to my French friends, and none of them a) know about Omega 3s or b) care about Omega 3s or c) choose their cheese based on properties of healthfulness.
In the end, though, I am correct in my guess: it's a delicious goat cheese: soft but firm, creamy and thick, salty and sweet-milky, with the flavor of grasses and herbs and the natural park grazing lands. Which doesn't mean I don't try it with a variety of honeys and fruit gels, because I do. And that, too, is to die for.
It's a pretty self-explanatory connection: a gorgeous leaf-shaped cheese, for a story on the gorgeous leaf colors of fall.


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