Mimolette is one of our most popular cheeses here at the store. For the uninitiated it's appearance is what intrigues us. It's round, for one thing. Why that is is something I will never understand. Imagine trying to cut into a bowling ball!
If it's aged, Mimolette resembles a cantaloupe, complete with pockmarks from the mites that are used to aerate the interior of the cheese. Yes, you read that correctly. Bugs are used to burrow through the rind of the cheese to provide fresh air into the interior and that action is what gives the cheese its mellow nuttiness.
That is also why the FDA banned the cheese for a number of years because bugs burrowing into cheese to be fed to Americans just didn't seem right. Specifically, the concern had to do with an allergic reaction to the mites. No such reactions in Europe were ever in evidence.
"Mi-mou" is French for "semi-soft" and young Mimolette is semi-soft in texture, creamy and light in color. Its flavor is Parmesan-like. With age the cheese turns more orange and hardens. With a lot of age Mimolette becomes very dry, hard and brown. It's flavor seems to sweeten with age but surprisingly it's hazelnut flavor never becomes strong.
Most Mimolette is some shade of orange in color and that is due to the natural dye, Annato, that is used to color the cheese, which brings us to our history lesson for the day: Louis IV was King of West Francia (936-954) at a time of discord with Holland over land proprietorship. West Francia included much of northernmost France along with some of the modern day Netherlands and Belgium. Much of the area at the time was called Flanders and the cultural ties for many were to Holland. Many people actually spoke Dutch. Louis the IV thought he would drive nationalism by banning the ultra-popular Dutch Edam and replace it with a new creation, Mimolette. He had it colored orange to further distinguish it from Edam, which is also, interestingly, round.
And the rest is history!
Please join us this Thursday after 5pm when Adam Bess leads us in a tasting of four wines from Testamento of Argentina. The wines come from the high altitude Mendoza region and include a red blend, a sparkler and two estate reds: Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Please join us!