Europe / Snapshots

The Cheese Moment

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I’m just going to say it – some things sound infinitely better in the French language. Take, for example, the Cheese Moment. In French, it’s le Moment Fromage, which rolls beautifully off the tongue, and doesn’t sound ridiculous when an entire table says: “Et maintenant? Pour le Moment Fromage?

What is this magical institution (for it is a magical institution)? This is the cheese course, taken after the appetizer and main course. On special occasions it may precede dessert, but in everyday life, it IS dessert. Don’t think cheese qualifies as dessert? That’s because you’re not in France. And let me assure you, we paltry non-French are missing out on a truly mystical moment.

Let me set the scene. The table is full of satisfied family members, having polished off two courses already. The last of the main dish has been consumed, and the table is cleared. One family member (usually a parent), retrieves every single morsel of cheese in the fridge, and the whole lot is deposited in the middle of the dinner table (unless it’s a more formal setting, in which a cheese board will have been assembled earlier).

A crusty baguette is torn into pieces, the rest of the wine is poured (wine and cheese are a match made by the Food Gods). Perhaps a pear is sliced into thin, paper-like pieces, to be eaten alongside a mild chevre. Everyone slices off hunks of their personal favorite, and though there is talk (and plenty of it), each person is having a mini-relationship with their cheese, letting stresses of the day melt away as one communes with the true pleasures of this life.

This is a French thing, but also a very Normandy thing. In this particular region of France, there are a lot of cows, and a therefore a lot of milk. It follows that cheese is highly prized; in fact, I’m almost positive the general population believes it’s another food group, equally as important as water and vegetables.

A meal is incomplete without cheese. It lacks luster, and life.

Not that I’m converted or anything.

(Photo Credit to Lavender and Lovage)

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5 thoughts on “The Cheese Moment

  1. So all these years, when dinner is over and I pull the cheese out of the fridge for an after dinner snack, I’ve simply been having my own little “Cheese Moments”?

    For the last few months, I’ve been having cheese moments at work every day after lunch. I should be done, as I’ve already eaten way too much, but I can’t help but pull out my little ziploc bag of Jarlsburg and gnaw on a few slices.

    • I’m afraid the French would frown upon your cheese moments Dad, because stuffing oneself is uncouth, and the cheese moment must be shared with others! When I get back, we will institute a Cheese Moment, but it’ll have to be with some higher quality fromage.

  2. Can the cheese moment also refer to desert in general? Sort of like when you say “let’s grab a cup of coffee” but some people drink tea instead.

  3. Amy, I wonder if you remember Kindergarten at Cyress. I sure remember you. Your parents put me on to your blog and I have had lot fun checking it. Way to go. FRANCE! I know you will have a wonderful time and learn some great new recipes. I can’t wait to try some of your recipes and I am planning a trip to Salt and Time here in Austin. I am very proud of your for all you have done…Keep up the good work. Fran Clendening

    • Hello Ms. Clendening! Of COURSE I remember Kindergarten, and more importantly, you! Thank you so much for the well wishes and for reading, and I hope all the recipes go well – you’ll have to let me know how they taste! 🙂

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