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cheeses from nazareth

Whole Foods want to Make America Grate again.
(And yes, I am available for Advertising contracts)

After what has been a difficult week, what with Korea, Irma, Brexit et al it is a delight to settle in on the best silly story of the week.  Whole Foods (a chain of 350 stores), and their woeful knowledge of cheese, allied to the old European trope that Americans have no knowledge of geography.

So, listen Caerphilly, I shall say these only once.

Nowadays, we are enjoined by all the best foodies to be aware of “provenance” with what we eat.  That is the concept that we all need to know where something has come from so that one may best choose the best.  To aid this a good food supplier often has descriptions, or a map of where their stock comes from.  My local butcher for instance tells us which farm his meat is from this week, and hangs up their rosettes on the wall.

So Whole Foods produced the poster above to push their cheese counter and planked them round their stores.

The first thing that struck me was that their selection was a bit sparse.  Is that it?  Half a dozen to choose from – it’s hardly a decent assiette de fromage for the very simplest of dinner parties.  Did not De Gaul describe his country as one where they had 246 varieties of cheese?  Second was that the cheese described was nowhere near where they come from.

For example: Though Camembert is produced in Camembert, Normandy, in northern France, the map pinpoints its origins far south on the Mediterranean.  I know this because I have an old pal who now lives on the hills above the town.  It has a museum of Camembert which I have studiously avoided so far.  And though Beaufort Alpage hails from the French Alps, Whole Foods stick it in the south-west.

You see, French cheeses get their names from the places in which they are produced. It is important. In fact, there is a legal designation called the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (or AOC for short) that protects cheeses made in certain regions.

By the AOC rules, if cheesemakers in northern France want to make Roquefort, they have to move to Roquefort country; otherwise, they must give their blue cheese another name.

So putting Basque cheese Istara, in the Pays-de-la-Loire,  Normandy’s Isigny-Ste-Mère in Alsace, , Franche-Comté’s comté in the Yonne,  and Bleu d’Auvergne in Saint-Tropez,  looks dreadful.  Right bloody ignorant.   The map was spotted in a Detroit shop by Twitter user Mickaël, who said “Hey @WholeFoods Ok you like French – but don’t you need a map?”

It leaves one feeling bleu.


Que Cheddar, cheddar, what ever will Brie will Brie,
The Feta’s not our to see,
Que Cheddar, cheddar……

Like this one say.  Actually, it would hold the customer’s interest better.

real cheeses

Anyway I will leave you the French view of American cheese.

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Copyright David Macadam 2017