Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Humble Beginnings

My first experience with French cheese was as a young adult, traveling in The Netherlands for work.  I had taken the train to a tiny little town called Delft on a free weekend to take a gander at the pottery, and in the basement snack shop of the cobblestoned town's museum, they were serving a thin slice of hot brie on toast. I went back to the counter twice, and then later that afternoon, before catching my train back to Rotterdam. To this day, I remember nothing of the pottery, but I do have a clear image in my mind of the Brie dripping off that oval of toast onto crinkly paper, and the sky in Delft.

Years later, I met a very interesting man and found love hurling me quickly to France. In order to save money I had taken a cheap flight to London and was sleeping on the floor of a flat that belonged to a woman he knew before continuing my journey to see him in his own country for the first time. She and I talked that night and after plying me with a small glass of Grey Goose, she asked me what my vice was. I told her it was cheese.  In my mind, this was NY State Cheddar ideally eaten while standing in muddy cleats by the light of an open refrigerator door.

She was sitting very straight up in a cross legged position and she twisted her curly black hair with her actrice's finger and gave out a throaty laugh. "Well, you're going to like France, then". At that moment my hot brie in Delft came back to me. And that was all. I imagined shops filled from floor to ceiling with toasts dripping with Dutch museum snackbar brie with the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower in the background.

After we ran into each others arms in slow motion along the platform at the Gare in Paris and then found ourselves in his little love nest near the Canal St. Martin, I told him I wanted to go to a cheese shop, immediately.

We got dressed and he took me to La Maison du Fromage. I was deep in a state of shock and was unable to articulate any reaction to what was facing me at the counter that seemed to go on and on. What did I want, anyway? He took the lead and picked out three cheeses.  A munster, Brie, at my request, and an herb encrusted goat's cheese from Corsica called "Brin d'Amour". We took them to his little studio with a baguette and had them on a card table. Let me tell you, at that moment, I knew. This was the man I was going to marry.


Blogger Unknown said...

I adore a love story and one connected to cheese is even better, as you see, I am also a cheese fiend. My partner and I love cheese, and it is very difficult to get it unless you live near a city, we are on the east coast of Canada. We get really great cheese from Quebec, those French know their cheese! I am totally jealous when I see the cheeses you get. Sigh.
It's great to read your posts again, I have missed your wonderful writing, and photos,too.

5:35 PM, April 09, 2013  
Blogger Christine said...

So happy to see you back on your blog, Lucy, weaving luscious stories of love and cheese, among so much else. Your delightful words have been missed.

7:55 PM, April 09, 2013  
Blogger Melissa ~ twoknitwit said...

I love this story (I've read it 3 times today ~ so sweet)

I found your blog looking for a recipe for salt potatoes and I've been hooked ever since ~ & I can totally relate to being a cheese fiend and loving NY State Cheddar (and cheese curd from upstate)

I miss NY, but France...& cheese...I need to visit!

thanks for sharing such a sweet memory ~ Melissa

10:19 PM, April 09, 2013  
Blogger Unknown said...

What a sweet story -- all the sweeter because it's about CHEESE! :)

12:44 AM, April 10, 2013  
Blogger Lady Lavender of the Kitchen said...

what a lovely story! It makes me remember too the cheese I had there and boy, do i miss it!

1:05 AM, April 10, 2013  
Blogger janetmow said...

Cheese, France, Love! All wonderful, not necessarily in that order... Such a nice story.

6:22 AM, April 10, 2013  
Blogger Jennifer said...

This might be my favorite of your stories. There is so much tenderness in your voice when you write about your husband.

10:28 AM, April 11, 2013  
Blogger sharon parquette nimtz said...

Lovely post, as usually, Lucy. Next time you're in the states come to Vermont, not only because we have wonderful cheeses but because I could meet you and tour you around.

3:00 PM, August 12, 2013  
Blogger RachelD said...

Still drinking in the beauty of this Cheese Plate---the shapes and colours and how they must taste in their own heritage of flavours.

Someday, when you're quite at your leisure, could you show "Cheese Plate Manners" for us of the novitiate? The passing, and the Knife (do you cut each in succession, with a morsel or trace of the last still adhering, or would that transfer the taste?) and is there an unspoken rule as to the number one might choose.

We so enjoy passing around the plate, with several little utensils we've acquired, but that's at home, in the comfortably avid moments amongst family.

Passing the Plate seems as if it should be more formal, somehow, than merely handing on the peas, like a small rite worthy of serious contemplation.

And what ARE those works of art? Simply beautiful.


4:01 PM, September 20, 2013  
Blogger Raisa Berriz said...

This story is so beautiful Lucy....sitting here teary eyed. Don't know if it is your love for Loic or our mutual love for cheese which touched me most!

10:13 PM, December 25, 2013  

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