Gateau au Fromage

April 2008

There are moments which may seem insignificant at the time, but upon later reflection, these moments are of utmost importance.  I spent a semester in Aix-en-Provence, in the South of France, and one of my first dinners with my French host mom, Edmée, was one of those moments.

“Do you like goat cheese?” she asked me in her romantically-accented English.

“Uh…sure?” The word “goat” in relation to something I would be eating didn’t have an overwhelming appeal, but I told myself, “When in France, do as the beautiful French women,” and Edmée was a beautiful French woman offering me cheese from a goat.

“I’ve eaten feta cheese,” I offered while Edmée cut into the kamut bread.

“That’s sheep,” she said without criticism.

“Oh,” I responded feebly while mentally preparing for this next course.

“Well, here goes my goat cheese experiment,” I surmised without knowing that this would later become one of those pinnacle, life-changing moments.  That was the start of my love affair with cheese and largely responsible for my love affair with living in France.  Who wouldn’t want to live in a country with enough cheese varieties to fill a calendar year with a new cheese everyday?

When again living in the United States, where importation inflates the price and deflates the selection, the love suffered.  I may have substituted a vicarious cake, but the wine is always wine.  Anything else would be wrong.

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