It’s hard not to get tied up in ego when participating in a writing experiment like this. Yesterday, this blog had 9 views. That’s it. But the day before it had 39 views. This is mysterious to me. Is it the type of cheese that drives the readership? Is one cheese a much more compelling read than another? Is it the day of the week? Is Saturday simply a more cheesey day than Sunday? Or is it me? Yes, likely it is me. I have been bitching about triple cream brie and its minions for days now. However, I am happy to announce the today’s cheese is the penultimate in this category. After tomorrow we shall never sample a bloomy rind brie type cheese again. Ever. Unless it’s really good. And free.
That being said, today’s cheese, L’Edel de Cleron, still deserves a fair review. L’Edel de Cleron is a pasteurized cow cheese from Jura, France, which is wrapped in spruce bark. This cheese has had an unexpected surge in popularity since the Sept 11 terrorist attacks in the USA. Weird, but true. Apparently, L’Edel is a dead ringer for Vacherin Mont d’Or– a fabulous raw milk French cheese which after Sept 11 was no longer permitted into the USA due to cracking down on import laws or terrorists and naughty cheeses. Vacherin Mont d’Or ripens for UNDER the 60 days required by law in the USA. There was a little Listeria outbreak in the USA in 1983 due to a bad batch of Vacherin, and slowly but surely, Vacherin landed on the “do not eat” list. Yes, it’s one of those cheeses. Fine and dandy for the rest of us who have never heard of this cheese, but for those who just couldn’t get enough Va
cherin D’Or, and Listeria free, L’Edel de Cleron suddenly became their cheese of choice, a pasteurized and thus allowed version of Vacherin. L’Edel is actually referred to and sold as “fake Vacherin” in some stores. One website says, “for Vacherin lovers, l’Edel de Cleron is the next best thing.” Which actually makes me feel kind of sad for L’Edel de Cleron…it’s the “next best thing,” how about appreciating this little cheese all on its own?
L’Edel do Cleron is actually a traditional cheese and relatively new, named after the village where it is made, called Cleron in the Jura district of France. This type of cheese was created in response to a milk transportation problem. Dairy farmers who provided large amounts of milk to the Comte or Abondance makers in the spring and summer, were stuck with not being able to transport the milk in the winter months. These types of cheese were thus made by these same farmers for home consumption. They were smaller, fresher cheeses, and needed to be eaten within a couple of weeks (hopefully with no Listeria!) Because of their youth and fragile nature they were banded with bark to help keep their shape during storage.
I am actually feeling really badly for this cheese. I’m not sure if I am anthropomorphizing this cheese, or if one can, in fact anthropomorphize cheese, but I am feeling a strong kinship to it. First, it’s created with the milk that’s supposed to be used for the beloved Comte or Abondance cheese, but can’t because of the crap weather. Then, people only really eat it because they can’t get their hands on Vacherin d’Or, which sounds like the crack of cheese, by all accounts. Poor little L’Edel, I shall be gentle with you.
My sweet little baby slice of L’Edel de Cleron, beautiful in its own right, looks like a slice of brie, but isn’t running and mooshing all over the place like those ridiculous triple creams. It’s a thin and dense looking cheese, with a bloomy rind and bark exterior (I shan’t eat that.) The interior is creamy yellow with no eyes. The cheese is quite pungent and defiant, I am here, it says, I am not Vacherin, but I am here…eat me, and so I shall.
Yummy, now this is what I think of when I think of brie…this is the exact flavour. Creamy, and mushroomy with a slight ammonia note at the back. It’s salty, but not overly so, the texture is creamy and well-balanced, it’s a civilized cheese. Mmmm, this cheese is extremely yummy and I would absolutely have this one on my cheese plate-were I looking for brie-type cheese(which I’m not, let’s be clear.)
L’Edel de Cleron, stand up on your own two feet-you are a terrific little cheese and I give you a 5 out of 5, this includes a bonus mark of empathy from one younger sister to another.