30 November 2007

Quelle Fromage! St. Paulin Cheese


Preparing for Christmas always brings to mind Grandma Annie.

Not that I need a holiday to think about my warm and wonderful maternal grandmother.

But, oh, how Annie loved preparing for Christmas! She baked and baked and stashed her cookies in tins stacked inside the big red cupboard in the back kitchen, the room separate from the main kitchen by a long hallway. Classic Christmas cookies, rolled and cut from orange-infused dough and baked and iced with pastel frosting; thumbprints rich with raspberry and apricot jam; and sand tarts, sugar cookies filled with dates.

Annie loved shopping, too, and would have certainly enjoyed the ease of the Internet.

The year I was first on my own, Annie gave me a cheese basket and a cookbook.

Port de Salut was one of the cheeses in that sampler basket. I have loved its creaminess since then, and I equate it with the comfort of Annie, her kitchen and her cooking.

In Paris, one of my first purchases was a hunk of St. Paulin cheese, a sort of sibling to Port de Salut. I bought it in part because of its promised creaminess, but also because St. Paulin, P.Q., was the birthplace of Annie’s mother, Josephine, known in previous posts as Mémere.

St. Paulin, originally made by Trappist monks, was the first cheese made with pasteurized milk, about 80 years ago. It is tender, sweet, and tangy and well suited for soups and macaroni and cheese. Its rind is soft and edible.

I will be cooking with it in a day or two - they say a winter storm is on the way. I'm going to be prepared for it.

11 comments:

Lydia said...

I'm not familiar with St. Paulin, though Port de Salut is one of my favorites, too. I'll have to inquire at my local cheesemonger.

breadchick said...

The last night of my first visit to Paris I wanted to sit in my hotel room and look over the city. I stopped on the way back to the hotel and picked up a bottle of cheap bordeaux, a baguette and a hunk of Port de Salut. I have never had a better wine, a crunchier baguette, or a better piece of cheese. Thanks for reminding me of that wonderful time.

Enjoy hunkering down for a winter storm!

Jann said...

This is the perfect food for approaching bad weather-you will have many pleasant thoughts when you are getting ready to have your first bite of this delicious cheese ~hope you have some good wine on hand to go with this......stay warm!

Mimi said...

Lydia, I was pleasantly surprised to find St. Paulin locally - I bought every hunk at the local market.

Breadchick, you speak from experience! I wish I could hunker down, but I've got events to attend every night for the next three nights - yikes!

Jann, by sheer coincidence, my husband came home with three new bottle yesterday so our wine rack is full again.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Sounds like things are coming together for a winter storm. Wine and cheese.
I can never think of or go to Paris without wine, cheese and bread. Gorn & I probably make it a meal at least once a day there, why not here? Um...Don't get back to Dallas until Monday but the forecast is showing 70° and snow?

Mimi said...

Seventy degrees and snow? Tanna - that sounds like Wisconsin. A mere six weeks ago we had 70 degrees...

Run Around Paris said...

What a great memory!

beachav7285 said...

My bride and I honeymooned in Paris thirty years ago this Christmas. We celebrate those memories each year with a bottle of Graves and a wedge of St. Paulin...the same menu we supped on that first night on the Ile de St. Louis. Sense memories are so evocative. The taste of that cheese has been a wonderful souvenir these many years.

Mimi said...

What a charming story! Here's to you and your wife for keeping a tradition like this alive!

Best wishes,

Mimi, who celebrates 18 years of marriage on the 28th...

Linda said...

I just tried St Paulin cheese for the first time the other day. I bought it because my sister-in-law's last name is Paulin. Loved the cheese and wanted to find out more about it. That's when I stumbled on your blog. Funny coincidence, my mother-in-law's name was Annie, and my kids called her Grandma Annie. She also loved to cook. I'll have to send your blog link to my sil. Really enjoy your writing style and topics.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Thank you, Linda!