Hello cheese lovers!
Before I get to today’s cheese, can we all just pause for a moment of silence for all the poor, murdered Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano cheeses in Italy, killed by the earthquake earlier this week. MOMENT OF CHEESE SILENCE. Some 300,000 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano and 100,000 of Grana Padano, each weighing about 40 kg, were horribly damaged when they fell off shelves in warehouses where they were undergoing their two year-long affinage. This amounts to about 10 per cent of the production of Parmigiano Reggiano and two per cent of Grana Padano. Once one of these wheels cracks, it’s game over. Interestingly, the parmigiano consortium has asked for permission to move the remaining cheese to warehouses outside of the region…but will this affect the AOC designation that clearly states the cheese and affinage must occur in the same place? Interesting argument against AOC/DOP regulations! As well, the production of milk used for cheese making in the area was also affected because many cows died were left traumatized by the quake and its aftershocks-bascially cow PTSD, affecting the output and quality of milk. Poor cows! Poor Parmigianno, poor turophiles! YES, a moment of silence, please.
It’s great that we were able to digress before getting to today’s cheese, Saint Morgon, because this little cheese is not really talking. Like, not at all. I picked Saint Morgon to review as it’s always at my local Costco and thus, relatively cheap, which I like. Also, it states on the label that it’s from France, which I also like, so that intrigued me. Cheap Costco cheese from France, sounds good, right? However, when I got it home and stared to research this cheese, I just found dead end after dead end. That usually denotes a cheese with no soul or no story, only factory produced for mass export. Interestingly, despite the charming “old-timey” label (and you should know by now to be wary of old-timey labels) this is a pretty new cheese. One paltry source states it arrived on the cheese scene in the 1980’s but honestly, that’s the only information I could find. Who knows, it’s a cheese mystery, certainly not old-timey though, that’s for sure.
the cheese revealed-a stinker!
It seems like the Saint Morgon-as it is called in Canada, is also sold as “Presidents Saint Morgon” elsewhere, (Europe) and is somewhat bizarrely actually owned by a Croatian company called Dukat. This may explain the lack of backstory here. I suspect (no proof) that President was a French manufacturer bought by Dukat at some point and now exporting to Canada in mass quantities for Costco shelves as plain old Saint Morgon (with old-timey label). That explains why only Costco seems to carry it, and no one really seems to be talking about this cheese. It’s a little lost orphan, poor darling.
There are some clues on the label. It states that the cheese is from French Laval Cedex 9 Cooperative, that it is made of cow’s milk, pasteurized (of course) that this is fromage a pate molle affine en surface meaning that it is a soft surface ripened cheese. It is a washed rind cheese washed in lukewarm salt water and flipped every day during affinage to remove the mold layer and creating a orangish rind similar to an epoisses, but that’s it people. Seriously that’s it! Good thing we have the Vlog and the earthquake to spice up the blog today because this one is really stumping me.
My little round of Saint Morgon cheese is both stinky and mysterious. The smell clearly states that this is a washed rind cheese, as does the characteristic orange and white rind with a sandpapery feel. The uric acid whiff is both charming and repulsive to me. The cheese looks a little dry, like an epoisses that’s been left out on the counter. I have waited until the best before date to eat this cheese, as you know that should translate into “don’t eat this cheese before” in your mind. When I cut it it’s not as gooey as I hoped, it sill looks a little dry, the interior is creamy with small eyes. It smells, it beckons me to forgive its lack of info on the net and to judge it by taste alone.
Salty, yummy, sticky….actually much stickier and gooier than I thought. Hmm, it’s actually not bad, it is obviously a stinky little washed rind cheese, it’s not excessively extravagant or showy, but it’s a nice cheap little cheese to go with your cheap little costco baguette. It’s not my slice of cheese particularly, I’m offended by the lack of back story, but it just might be yours.