Skip to comments.French mobilize to save cheeses under threat of extinction (National Crisis!)
Posted on 04/09/2005 3:05:45 AM PDT by Simmy2.5
PARIS (AFP) - A worrisome trend is looming in this country of cheese-lovers, where the nation's rich palette of 1,000 cheeses is being nibbled away at with the annual demise of several varieties.
"In 30 years, more than 50 have been struck off the menus as the proportion of industrial cheeses continues to grow while cheeses made from unpasteurised milk only represent seven percent of our consumption," said Veronique Richez-Lerouge.
She is the president of an association formed to protect France's unique cheeses, the focus of Friday's fourth national cheese day.
"The Mont-d'Or galette, which had been produced for some 400 years, disappeared this summer following the death of the last producer who knew the secret of how to make it," she said.
Guy Martin, a Michelin three-star chef, serves up in the Grand Vefour in Paris another threatened variety, Termignon blue, which is made in southern Maurienne close to the Italian border.
For national cheese day, the association wants to mobilise the French to confront this "looming disaster" which has been triggered for different reasons.
"Tastes are becoming more uniform, European standards are more and more draconian, more than half of the cheeses which receive a quality rating are made from pasteurised milk, large stores no longer have cheese-cutting counters, and outbreaks of listeria have been blamed on unpasteurised milk, even though all products such as pasteurised milk, fish and meat are affected by bacteria," Richez-Lerouge said.
It was the job of the country's leaders to help small producers. "We have to be vigilant to ensure that our representatives at the European Union are banging their fists on the table.
"You can't expect small producers to have the same standards as a big cheese manufacturers. We have to find a proper compromise," said Martin, who has published a book "Cuisiner les fromages" (Cooking with cheese).
But others remained optimistic for the future.
Cheese-maker Philippe Olivier, based in northern Boulogne-sur-mer, said: "For the past two to three years, young people have been moving here to save these cheeses, young farmers of 30 with ethics, who produce while respecting the environment, who make a lifestyle choice by choosing to become producers.
"And at the same time, there have never been so many young people registered at the cheese school in Paris," he added.
"Fifteen years ago, there were only two producers of Bergues left, close to Dunkirk -- this poor person's cheese which the Dunkirk sailors would take on board for their expeditions to the New World.
"Thanks to our mobilisation, there are eight producers today and seven others are training. I sell Bergues in some 30 cheese-shops in France as well as abroad," he added.
Lafayette Gourmet, the food department at one of Paris' biggest stores, has also edited for the first time a guide to France's cheese, aimed at providing practical as well as cultural help to the often bewildering range confronting shoppers.
"We have to explain that cheese is a wonderful product, and not something harmful. We have to defend French heritage and safeguard those products with real taste," said Sylvain Gaudu, head of Lafayette Gourmet.
He said the store's cheese counter, which has some 150 kinds made with unpasteurised milk, was the most visited in the shop.
Hundreds of cheese-makers will be taking part in the national cheese day, organising demonstrations and tastings. For more information website www.journeenationaledufromage.com.
Visit the National Cheese Museum!
Who knew that my job was a lifestyle choice? I thought I was just making dairy products.
"...young farmers of 30 with ethics..."
Sounds like an unusual trait there...
No more cutting the cheese in public.
What are the French going to do when the cheeses go extinct?
While cheese is threatened with extinction, in contrast, French surrender monkeys are thriving.
What kind of cheese, Harmless?
I love cheese...
well!...this means saying "Who cut the cheese?" will not be as funny....
Here's the problem. The EU appears to be hell-bent on destroying local traditions. They are also on the attack in Belgium against lambic-style beers, which are spontaneously fermented by wild yeast and bacteria. They've been around for hundreds of years, but now the EU is saying they're too dangerous for public consumption. Hopefully they will survive, maybe by moving here to the US. It's a shame.
There are lots of solutions: cheese museums, cheese zoos, protected cheese habitats, cryogenic cheese vaults (freeze the cheese so we can resume the line in the future when technology is improved).
Nah, who cares about them? We've got Wisconsin, don't need anything else, and wine? My gosh, with so many good wines made in the USA, don't need anything else in that regard either, besides just hand me muh beer, don't need no stinkin' wine.
Boycott all French products!
Personally, I think there is still considerable scrap value in that tower as well.
I think what is really hurting the French is the fact most American imported cheese consumption comes from the Benelux countries (Belgium and the Netherlands). Many more specialized American cheese producers have successfully duplicated the brie and bleu cheeses that the French are well-known for, so there is not really that much demand for French cheeses to start with.
You have to be kidding. Our laws regarding food is MUCH more strict. Even cheese from unpasterized milk is ILLEGAL in our "free" country.
All they need to do is copy the US Endangered Species Act. Then the bureaucrats can write studies that show the enzymes of the various cheeses are "unique and found nowhere else' and are in danger of going extinct.
With a little help from a publicity campaign from radical environmentalists [eg. "Save the Enzymes!" "No Enzymes, No Peace" "Bush kills innocent Enzymes!"] the French can simply halt any capitalist move to destroy the enzymes environment of bulk cheesemakers and force them to continue production.
Zut Alors! Viola! The multidiverse world of cheeses are saved for our children.
I have a friend that makes Cabra al Vino. Mmmmmm cheese and wine all in one.
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