We have all been told not to judge a book by its cover, but have you ever felt compelled to do just that when looking at some funny, sometimes even scary-looking, cheeses?
As I look at a less than perfectly presented piece of one of my utmost favourite cheeses, an Epoisses from Burgundy, I feel the need to share some of my thoughts on cheese presentation. What is good, what might be considered bad and the beauty of these 'ugly' cheeses!
Before I get to the ugly truth of our topic, let me tell you a fun fact about that cheese; Epoisses is naturally so stinky it has been banned from the Parisian public transport system! Those of you who know me have probably heard my story about confusing the people I was sharing an elevator with carrying my first born daughter. They thought the funny smell was coming from her nappy... as they weren't to know about the Epoisses I was carrying in my bag (as you do)!
Anyhow, back to our original thoughts...
The cheese I am looking at now looks very comfortable in its own skin. Not only did I choose the ripest I could find in the shop, but I also purposefully kept it out of the fridge for a good couple of hours to ensure it is as pungent as possible. To the point that the shiny reddish skin cannot even hold the gooey texture. There is a reason why this cheese is usually sold in a wooden box.
So, does it look good? Well, a bit messy if you really ask me. But awfully appealing nevertheless! Truth is, it is a complete reveal - what you see is what you get. And the knife has hardly a place here as it is now a case of breaking some bread and using it as a way to capture the fugitive before it fully escapes. It is now not only delicious, it is alive, fun and conversation provoking. Perfect, of course, with my glass of Riesling and crusty baguette.
If it is too wild or precarious for you, use a little bowl to contain the cheese vibrant energy. Then use spoons rather than knives and enjoy the experience. I guarantee you, it might not look like anything you’ve ever seen before, but it will taste amazing.
Like fruits and vegetables that are not looking exactly as expected, cheese has an inherent organic nature that dictates its final presentation. Look beyond and trust your cheesemonger, who will know how good their cheeses are - no matter how ugly they may be!