Sep 29, 2017

More Than I Bargained For: Le Chèvre Fleur


I ask the woman at the counter for a little of this chocolate, a little of that, some milk with caramelized almonds, some dark with raspberry. It costs 5.5 (about $6) per 100g. When she is holding a few pieces, I ask her, "Is that 100g?" She makes a face and shakes her head in a gesture that means clearly and emphatically "Non!"

Buoyed by this promising prospect, I have her break off more and more of the bark till finally it seems like honestly, even if I'm not yet at 100g, we just don't need more chocolate than this in the house.

Then she weighs it, and it comes to about 35 -- or $40. That's $40 worth of chocolate bark just to have a little nosh. Rather stunned, I ask, "But didn't you tell me it wasn't 100g?" And she replies, quite logically, I suppose, "It wasn't 100g. It was already much, much more."

On the other hand, for products (mostly produce) that I'm used to buying, I now know how much to get, such as 400g of string beans for the four of us. I know that 2kg of oranges is not too much if I'm really stocking up, but that half a kilo of figs is plenty. Recently, I do buy one single mushroom that surprises me by costing around 18€ (over $20), but that's also because it's a single, massive cèpe, in season, and at 50 per kilo ($55/kg or $25/lb), it was just never going to be cheap (final verdict: delicious, but I strongly prefer the taste and texture of the cheaper "regular" champignons de Paris -- Paris mushrooms. Hallelujah).


So, the metric system. I guess I'm not quite 100% there yet. On the plus side, I know what I'm going to have for my snack today.

THE CHEESE: Le Chèvre Fleur

I can easily understand where the name of Le Chèvre Fleur, which means The Goat Cheese Flower, comes from. When I see the photo of the cheese at La Crèmerie Royale, it certainly does remind me of a flower bud, ready to burst open. On the other hand, I could have also understood it being called a Chèvre Torchon, or Dishtowel Goat Cheese, because it's immediately obvious that it's made in a "torchon" (a dishtowel, and in this case cheesecloth...) by squeezing out the liquids and leaving the cheese to start drying inside the fabric. I can still see the striations of the cloth on the cheese.

A raw and very rarer goats' milk cheese from Provence in Southern France (specifically in the village of Châteaudouble in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region), Le Chèvre Fleur is a real treat for the lovers of unusual and slightly stinky cheeses. It's got the slight funk of a cheese with a slightly orange crust. It's got a sweet edge to it, while being a pungent, savory cheese. And maybe it's the power of suggestion, with the name (flower) and form (flower) and color (sunny) and knowing it comes from Provence (so many flowers, so much sunshine), but I feel like I can taste the floral side in Le Chèvre Fleur, the sun-drenched flowers in the fields of Provence that the goats graze on.



Why Le Chèvre Fleur with a story about getting more (much more) than I bargained for? When I receive my cheese in the mail, I am actually quite surprised. It is both more, and less, than I expected. It's honestly a much bigger hunk of cheese than I expected to receive, given that I thought the entire Le Chèvre Fleur was more the size of the pepper-covered mini-disc on the platter below. So, on the one hand, I got three times as much Le Chèvre Fleur as expected.

On the other hand, I only got one wedge of the cheese, whereas I was expecting the entire flower-shaped blob. What it comes down to is that I couldn't tell from the photo that it's a big blob, not a small blob. In my mind, I imagined it full sized like a lemon. In fact, at full size, it's more like a basketball. A very smushed, misshapen, flowery, stinky, delicious basketball.


  1. HI, I used to work for a UK cheese distributer and now having moved to France I am looking to revive my love and reading about cheese. I love your connections of life to cheese - like a surprise chocolate centre. Can I ask though - do you travel to try all your cheeses or do you rely on mail order and local distributers to access them? Regards Judi Castille www.judicastille.com

    1. Hi Judi. I can't contact you via your website. So please contact me via mine! Shoot me an email, and I'd love to answer and help you out with resources.


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