Jul 3, 2015

Pride and Prider: Fontenille


It's great timing for the Paris Pride Parade (and the one in San Francisco, too) this year, coming right on the heels (yes, the high heels) of the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage throughout the United States. If you can't remember which justices were on which side, I offer you this mnemonic device: Those who voted against were RATS (Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia).

Here, the Hotel de Ville is decked out in rainbow and ready for Pride weekend.

But if you want to see decked out, you need to head to the Pride Parade.


And then there are the high heels. I would say that you wouldn't catch me dead in those heels, but the truth is, if I were to try to walk the length of a parade in them, you would certainly catch me dead, or with a broken ankle, at the very least.

But not everybody's decked out. It's actually a pretty mellow, "conservative" looking crowd, all things considered. But the day is really supposed to be all about love, not just crazy costumes.

Some people are barely decked out -- or even dressed -- at all. (My family and I spend our time while this float passes not discussing or thinking about gay rights, but about fake boobs, and comparing hers to mine. Um, let's just say mine -- just the one so far -- isn't quite so...so...out there.)
Besides the ubiquitous rainbows, some other signs of the times: "Gender, faith, and color, without discrimination."

"Get these judges out of our underpants!"
"My body, my gender, so piss off!" (this one sounds so much better in French)
"Love is good for your health!"

"Together, for the rights of trans people!"
You think you know what's coming...Liberté, Egalité...  

...and then they hit you instead with "Homoparentalité" (same sex parenting).

I like everything about the sign below, including the sign holders. It's in English and needs no translation. Yes, we bring our girls to the Pride Parade and say, "Here! Cozy up to this nice man (who looks like Bono) in leather pants that cover everything but his private parts. Now smile for the photo!"

And speaking of doppelgangers, we are not the only ones who see the resemblance of this dark bearded cross-dresser to the 2014 Austrian Eurovision winner. As she (he? honestly, I don't know what I'm supposed to use here) walks down the parade, everybody is screaming, "Conchita!"

As for the signs of the times, the timing couldn't be better for a little pro-America sentiment here at the Paris Pride Parade, thanks to the Supreme Court decision. Honestly, it makes me prouder -- Prider? -- to be an American.
This guy either qualifies as pro-America or pro-Village People; I'm not sure which.

But really, it's only a little pro-America sentiment. It's old news here -- two years of legal gay marriage in France -- so it's simply not as earth-shattering. I must be a little ethnocentric, because I somehow expect they'll make a bigger deal, here at Paris Pride, of the US Supreme Court decision, but, frankly, the parade participants aren't thinking about America. They're just out -- pun intended -- celebrating their own freedom, rights, and love.

THE CHEESE: Fontenille

Fontenille is a raw goat's milk cheese from Deux-Sèvres in Poitou-Charentes, home to the greatest goat cheese in the world, in my opinion. It's a hard disc of a solid goat cheese, covered in black-gray ash.

No, it's not. It's a creamy disc of a semi-soft goat cheese, coated in a delicate white toad-skin mold.

Wait, no, it's not. It's actually a tower of young, fresh, light, and fluffy goat cheese. No, no: it's actually the dairy farm that produces a variety of goat cheeses.

And, of course, the real answer is that it's all of the above. All of the cheeses above are sold to me as "Fontenilles" and, therefore, defy any real description. Some of them might actually be made by the Fromagerie Fontenille, but even more confusingly, the cheese already existed, under the name Fontenille, before the fromagerie was created in June 2014.

The tower of fresh cheese, just days old, in the upper corner is soft and tangy, with a hint of lemon and yogurt. When it is aged for several weeks, it becomes either the white or the black version, depending on the molds introduced and whether or not it is ashed in the few-week aging process.


This cheese practically comes in a rainbow of options. At the very least, it's a cheese that offers incredible diversity: fresh, old, dry, wet, white, black, gray, small, big, short, tall, soft and fluffy, aged and crumbly. And so, in that way, it seems the right cheese to pair with a story on gay pride, the rainbow flag, and the celebration of diversity in general.


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