Oct 31, 2018

Good Things Come to an End (But Not This Blog): Tomme de Corrèze


Is it true that all good things must eventually go the way of the bidet, the beret, and the street-corner mime? Not everything, but certainly, there seem to be a lot of sad endings in France recently.

Bad news for the kids: The playground in the Jardin du Luxembourg is closing, definitively, and I know many parents are heartbroken over the loss. Apparently, the contract for the concession wasn't renewed. Parents are protesting, but French bureaucracy is often unmoved. What will be become of the space? More parkland or new playground? Parisians are really far more grieved by this loss than can be explained to non-Parisians. It's not just a playground, it's an institution, and also just millions of childhood memories.

photo from: Facebook account Mlissa Rnold Adms

On the other hand, we also have good news for the kids, though they might not agree: France has banned cell phones in schools up to age 15 (so, effectively, primary and middle schools). High schools can also opt to conform to the new rule. Interestingly, we know of schools doing this voluntarily in the US, too, so even among the more tech-obsessed Americans, it is still possible to accomplish phone-free learning.

Sad news for the child within each grown-up: After many year, the Guignols have ended -- those satirical puppets that have been doling out the news with a hefty dose of humor for decades.

The love locks are still gone, which may seem like a non-update sort of update (they were gone the last time I checked in, and they remain gone), but anybody who lived through the obsessive, excessive locking of love onto Paris' bridges will appreciate the still-goneness. The bridges seems so much cleaner and wider and brighter, with the light and the view coming in. What is new is that the construction is done on the former love-locks bridges and the new railings are in place. It's so clear in the photo, you may not be able to tell there are glass panels firmly affixed to the metal railing (to prevent, of course, the locking of love-locks as well as the falling-through of small children).

Needless to say, not all are as happy with the end of this tradition as I am. And so they find the occasional spot here or there to lock on their love. I suspect they're all tourists.

Soon to end is the long and glorious run of the metro tickets, which are set to be replaced with the ability to pay for your metro transport with a contact credit card directly. The removal of the existing ticket-taking turnstyles starts in a year, in October 2019 and will be completed by 2021-ish.

The new system will be modeled on the London tube system, with easily rechargable cards. While those cards already exist (Navigo passes) for regular commuters, the new cards will also replace single-use tickets, thereby saving many trees and preventing a lot of litter on the streets.

Apparently, "real" (that is, natural, and unmodified) oysters are nearly at an end, too, with just a few producers holding on to the old ways. Most now are triploïde (possessing an extra chromosome). In French, they are called Oraganismes Vivants Modifiés (like GMO in English, but more living organisms). There are 95 oyster cultivators who now qualify as Ostréiculteur Traditionel, meaning they follow traditional oyster collection methods and non-OVM oyster cultivation. Here's a story about it -- in French (click here for link if video doesn't show up below):

Perhaps the saddest bell of all is tolling the demise of "real" (that is, raw and hand-ladled) Camembert. As of 2021, pasteurized milk Camembert, made in industrial settings and poured into molds by machines, will be allowed to call itself Camembert de Normandie AOP, until now the domain of raw milk, hand-crafted cheeses. The point, of course, is that it makes it easier to mass produce and export. More money for the large dairy conglomerates; less raw, funky Camembert for us cheese-lovers. In terms of cheese, and of cultural patrimony, it's nothing short of a tragedy. Even in tradition-bound France, it's a truism that all good things come to an end.

THE CHEESE: Tomme de Corrèze

The Tomme de Corrèze is a farmhouse cheese made from raw goats' milk by the Famille Arnaud, a high-end, super-passionate fromager in the small town of Lapleau -- under 200 inhabitants on the 2015 census in the department of Corrèze, in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Hence, the name of the cheese.

The Arnaud Family has a large troup of Saanens snow-white goats whose milk makes not only this lovely Tomme but also other delicious goat cheeses, including the Gour NoirCheck out the Gour Noir and another local cheese, the Foissac St. Hilaire, and you'll notice a common thread of absolutely buttery, fragrant goat cheeses with gorgeous geotricum (wrinkly toad skin).

Compared to the others, the Tomme de Corrèze is a harder, aged version of a goat cheese, with a crumbly, dry texture that turns creamy in the mouth. It's a delicious cheese, with distinct herbal, floral notes.


Will this blog ever come to an end? My Year in Fromage is clearly up, and I've surpassed my goal of 365 French cheeses and related stories. Then, I surpassed my next goal of 500 French cheeses and related stories. Now, I'm working my way to my next (and final?!) milestone of 1000 French cheese and related stories. This particular cheese has been sitting in my files for a long time...years, if truth be known...just looking for the perfect related story. I feel that though I've never found the perfect story to pair with it, like many other good things, its time on my still-unused cheese list has to come to an end.


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