Feb 10, 2015

Raspberry Beret: Le Mervent


She wore a raspberry beret...the kind you buy in a second hand store. And that's because it's cold in Paris, really cold. Not New-England-15-feet-of-snow-on-the-ground cold, but bitter and biting nonetheless.

Anthony has some co-workers in from the Montreal offices. The temperature when they left was something like -26°C (-15°F), and they're missing out on -10°C (roughly 15°F) back home, and yet they claim that Paris, at 0-7°C (32-45°F), feels even colder. We think they are out of their minds, because you couldn't pay me to trade this for 26 below, in any measuring system. But I will admit, Paris is cold. And gray. And breezy. All of which makes it feel colder.
That makes it time to break out the berets -- about the only time you'll see actual French people (men, women, and children, but more specifically: older men, women of all ages, and girls) wearing actual berets in a non-tourist fashion.


It also means it's time to break out the fur coats, for those who don't have fur, and the regular coats for those who do.

It's generally a small window when you see all the berets, furs, and doggie coats -- as little as one or two weeks of the winter, as much as a month or so. While I used to be a hearty Minnesotan, used to temps well below zero, and also a Rochestarian, used to snow drifts over my head, I am more recently a soft Californian, so I'm voting for just a couple weeks.

THE CHEESE: Le Mervent

Le Mervent is made from raw goats' milk in the Fromagerie du Thouet, which also makes Le Lunaire, La Malvault, Chevriou, and other soft goat cheeses. The farm produces them under the name of Marie-Anne Cantin, one of the Paris' best-known cheese-agers and sellers.

Le Malvault, another dark, ashed cheese, has a more intense flavor. But Le Mervent, in turn, has much more flavor than Le Lunaire. Le Mervent is creamy, thick, and thirst-inducing, with a smidge of salt. It's not boring, but also not gamy, resting somewhere in the middle with a mellow, lemony tang.


Not only is the cheese a disc-shape, much like a beret, it's also a fuzzy cheese that looks like it's wearing a fur coat, and one that has the word "vent" ("wind") right in it. There's been a cold wind blowing, all right, and it's bringing out the fur coats, the doggy coats, and the berets.


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