05 December 2007

Cheese — ba-a-ah!

Here's another page from the Centre E. Leclerc's latest advertising brochure. It's for cheese(s), but can you tell what all these cheeses have in common?

They have nice names like Le Pérail des Aliziers, Ossau Iraty, Manchego, Tommette, Etorki, and Roquefort. Ah, Roquefort. There's a familiar one.

It turns out all these cheeses are made with ewe's milk. The ewe is the female sheep, like the cow is the female bovine. So not only do we eat lamb, but we eat cheese made from the lamb's mother's milk. Did you know that Roquefort cheese was made from ewe's milk?

This they don't have in common: some of the cheeses are made with raw milk (lait cru) and others are made with pasteurized milk (lait pasteurisé). Purists will say that cheese made from raw milk is better than cheese made with pasteurized milk.

Another thing these cheeses have in common is that they are all made in southwestern France or, in at least one case, northeastern Spain. A couple are from the Aveyron region, including Roquefort. The others are made in Basque country, which the bottom left corner of France when you look at the map.

Southwestern France. French Basque country is the basically
the Pyrénées Atlantiques, the green area at the bottom left
of the map, on the border with Spain and south of Bordeaux.
The Averyon is a bright blue area just north and east of Toulouse.

The French word for ewe is brebis (bruh-BEE). If it's in the feminin (la brebis), it means the animal itself. If it's in the masculin, le brebis, it means the cheese (le fromage de brebis ;c'est du brebis). That's because the word fromage is masculin.

As for the prices, I'll just say that 10.00€/kg is about $6.81/lb at today's exchange rates. That would make 15.00€/kg about $10.00/lb.


  1. I wish the grocery fliers here in the states looked like your french ones. I enjoy seeing yours and learning more about sheep cheese. Do your fliers come online or in snail mail?

    I once had a cheese book, but gave it to Bonnie who lost her books in transit. I figured she really needed it since she was living amidst all those cheeses and had to decide on what kind to buy almost daily.

  2. last spring, I went with a friend in the southwest of France and at one of the restaurants we went, they had a brebis only plateau de fromages ! This was quite an experience as there was an assortment of cheeses that I didn't even know existed. Very tasty!

    Claude from Blogging in Paris


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