Crottin de Chavignol : encroyable!









It is not often that I am absolutely compelled to ask in a restaurant what incredible ingredient or feature of a dish I'd just tasted. A couple of years ago this unexpectedly occured towards the end of a long weekend office move in Paris - a bad hotel, junk food and and on the last night at ten, I left the office to find a restaurant, walking from Nanterre into the heart of the city. As it was late on a Sunday hardly any restaurants were open but I got lucky finding a nice looking place: busy but winding down. I remember ordering fish for the main course - a big pink slab, so must have been salmon or possibly trout - but for the first course, decided to try something radical for the first time: goat's cheese. Just the name put me off, goats are simply not attractive creatures are they? I suppose cows are not exactly lookers either but being raised in England cheese was mostly cheddar (with a bit of French Brie and Camembert thrown in on trips abroad and in home shops) I'd become a big fan of mature varieties: any other kind of cheddar has no flavour and is little better than edible plastic!Crottin de Chavignol
I have never tasted a cheddar better than Anchor's Vintage Cheddar though it seems discontiued on their site and the most flavourful appears to be only Extra Mature *sigh*, but itself a very, very good cheese. Anyway I digress: back to the meal. The plate that appeared held a wonderful leafy salad with grilled medallions of bubbling cheese a top toasted french bread: a standard dish I found out later. After a single bite of the cheese my senses were engulfed, my brain was overwhelemed. I recall my only rational thought was: "what the hell is this cheese? I have to know!". Calling the waiter over he found out it was Crottin de Chavignol. I made a note of it, never forgot it, raved about it whenever goat's cheese or even just cheese came up in a conversation (guess that makes me a "cheese bore") and subsequently bought some at Tescos in the UK (28 GBP a kilo!) and also in France on a dayout to Dieppe (mericifully cheaper). Just, I think, the best cheese in the world - if there is better I want to taste it, if only once.