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Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Neufchâtel: I “heart” cheese.

Neufchâtel Coeur de Bray

Given the abundance of cheese France produces, I’ve decided to tackle the subject once a month in a series of posts that bring some of the lesser known cheeses, (at least outside the France borders) into focus.  Some cheeses have a complicated history which I try to boil down to what makes them unique and notable, and others simply developed from “farm cheeses” made to be consumed where they were produced.  Either way, “Cheese” gives me a chance to explore one of the gastronomic delights of France and justify my excursions to a cheese monger as “research”.  And the research can be oh, so grueling…

Neufchâtel, a French cheese from Upper Normandy, is made from unpasteurized cows’ milk.  It is a soft cheese, and is in the same family as a Camembert or Brie.  Its taste falls somewhere between the two, not overly sharp nor sweet and mild.  According to legend, during the 30 year war (1618-1648), young French girls would show their attraction to English soldiers by giving them cheese in the shape of a heart.  Nowadays, the heart shaped cheese is called “Neufchâtel Coeur de Bray”, and the cheese itself is fabricated in other forms and sizes.

The French Neufchâtel should not be confused with the American counterpart, which was created in the late 1800’s by a New York dairy farmer.  His attempts to recreate the French cheese failed, but what he had instead was a low fat version of cheese cream now sold in supermarkets.

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