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"Blessed are the cheesemakers" ~ Monty Python
The Cheese Diaries
Cheese tales from fellow home cheesemakers.
If you have a story to tell about cheese making in your area, send it in with photos.
Cheesemakers are always interested in hearing about what others are doing.
Fellow home cheesemaker Bob Eifling and I had an idea to spark interest not only in cheese making, but also to show a glimpse of cheese and cheesemaking in other parts of the world. This series will hopefully bring you the people and places where cheese and cheesemaking has a profound effect on the local culture. Bob is our first home cheesemaker to write his story. I hope others, like you reading this will send in your stories and photos for publication on this website. You don't need to be an accomplished writer or photographer.
Your experiences with cheese and cheesemaking in your special part of the world is important to this series. I'm sure you have an interesting tale to tell. Whether you're a home cheesemaker or professional/commercial cheesemaker, your story is exciting to other cheesemakers. Below is Bob's first entry, the introduction to this series.
The series will concentrate on a specific area during stays in various parts of the world. I will become part of the culture to meet and mingle with the locals. At the same time I hope to learn more about the cheeses of the area, what they taste like, what they look like and how they are made.
I know you are all thinking, “This is a tough assignment, can I help.” and the answer is, yes. You can help by reading these notes, providing us with feedback and ultimately, attempting to duplicate the cheeses on which I report.
To kick off this assignment I have chosen to dive into the culture of a little know region of France located in the Southwest part of the country in the Pyrenees Mountains. While you might not be familiar with the region, it is located less than thirty miles of one of the most spiritual spots on earth, Lourdes.
I will be living for two months in the village of Laruns, located at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. For those of you who follow the Tour de France, Laruns is at the base that starts the climb of the Col d’Aubisque, one of the most demanding climbs in bicycle racing.
Laruns is also home to many different artistians in the cheese making industry. The cheese is very unique, primarily from ewes milk, but some locals also produce a version from cows and goats milk. It is a hard cheese sold primarily in five-kilo rounds. For tourists it can be purchased in smaller quantities.
I will be spending two months in Laruns, learning from the locals, improving my French and meeting the cheese makers in hopes of learning some of their secrets and techniques. While I’m there I will be posting reports, notes, about what I’m doing, what I’m learning, what I’m eating and drinking. One must not forget that wine is as much a part of cheese as cheese is of wine.
I will be arriving in Laruns around October ,2007 and will post my reports about every two weeks. My reports will include pictures along with information about my adventure, the people, the cheese and of course, the wine.
We hope you enjoy this addition to The Cheese Maker’s website and welcome your feedback.
Your man in France,