Jan 31, 2018

Out of Time: Coup de Corne


To live in Paris is to live, always, a little anachronistically. There is so much old, juxtaposed against modern life. Nothing proves this point better than this sign:

The Echoppe Medievale (.com) is, as the name suggests, just the place to go in the digital age of the 21st century for all of your medieval needs. Need velour robes? They got 'em. Need a Viking broach? A Celtic bracelet? They got 'em. It goes without saying that they have items from Game of Thrones, the Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings, none of which are actually medieval, but why quibble? The site's webmaster appears to be stuck in the Middle Ages, however, because the site is hard to get around, with many departments not clickable. For this, the founder of the Echoppe Medievale (Medieval Shop) should be punished -- medievally. The stocks would certainly be fitting.

You can see, however, that Pippa's not taking her time in the stocks too seriously (at Guédelon castle -- itself a major anachronism, as it's a medieval castle being built in modern times), given that she's aiming for a pouty-faced medieval selfie.

Here's another anachronistic selfie. The sculptor who came up with this statue, which now stands in the Jardin du Luxembourg, must have been a man ahead of his time. 

This noble lady at the Vaux-le-Vicomte palace also embraces the 21st and 17th centuries simultaneously.

People in costume in the garden behind Notre Dame, on a random day in spring. Why are they dressed like this? Why not, I suppose:

Navigating down bus aisles with a hoop skirt -- ladies in the 17th century didn't see that one coming.

There are remnants of other times everywhere, like this original thingamajiggy, which was used in days gone by as a step to alight or descend from a carriage. It's just sitting there, outdoors in the 5th arrondissement, unused.

Every once in a while, the contrast between old and new hits me over the head. People used to live with these kinds of roving vendors. And, I guess, occasionally, they still do:

Talk about 21st century anachronisms, this man is actually reading a book!

Basically, all of Paris is one huge display of anachronisms. So a medieval castle with automobile bridge traffic is just par for the course. [Ed note: This flooded Seine looks a little 1910 or, more recently 2016. The current 2018 flood is virtually at the 2016 levels. So it's no longer so much a century flood as a global-warming-twice-a-decade (so far, at least) flood.]

THE CHEESE: Coup de Corne

Coup de Corne is, like Tricorne, a triangular French cheese. But not to be confused with Tricorne, which is a raw goat's cheese, Coup de Corne is made of raw cows' milk. The big difference in appearance, of course, is the hole.

Coup de Corne:


The hole in Coup de Corne seems to be a mere whimsy of the cheesemaker, rather than functional in the cheesemaking process. It's a nod to the French phrase "coup de corne" which means "head-butt" (and also, slangily, "blow the horn"). It brings up the image of a bull's horn piercing the cheese, which I believe is the point (pardon the pun).

It's an absolutely scrumptious cheese made with a "hole" lot of finesse (I apologize again). Inside the thick, white-bloom crust is a buttery, silky, salty, slightly grassy, mushroomy, hint-of-yeasty, oozy mess that I could not slather on my bread quickly enough. Rather, I should say the crust ranges from white-bloom to brownish and almost gray-green, since it's lightly ashed, and colors depending on how long it's aged. It's made year-round at the Ferme de Cabriole, in the small town of Saint-Félix-Lauragais in the Haute-Garonne department of the Occitanie region of France, in the South.

If you ever see this in your cheese store, jump on the chance and buy it!


In looking through my cheese files, I started to think that the Coup de Corne would work well to accompany this story because of the hole in it, which looks a lot like the hole in the Guédelon stocks where Pippa is both being punished and taking a selfie, simultaneously.

Then I also though it worked well because the triangular shape reminded me of the tri-corn style hats that are being worn in the photos by the statue in the Jardin du Luxembourg and also by the lady on horseback at Vaux-le-Vicomte.

But when I found this anachronistic photo which turns Pippa into King Louis XIV by having her stick her face in the hole of a triangular-shaped hair-do, I knew it was just the fromage for a story about anachronisms.


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