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Christmas Market

Christmas Market

Clockwise from top left: Pur brebis (sheep's cheese) from Iraty, Cantal, pecorino with truffles, comtétomme de montagne (cow's cheese).

I’ve always felt that the United States suffers from a lack of Christmas markets. In Europe, they’re abundant. I’ve been to only two so far (Manchester and Paris) and I regret not figuring out how to time my business trips to Nuremberg to see theirs.

Despite the November 13 attacks, the COP 21 global climate conference, and unseasonably warm weather, Paris’ Christmas markets were rammed with people enjoying food, mulled wine, and gifts and tchotkes from seemingly all over Europe. Amongst the numerous stalls at the bottom of the Champs Elysées, we found several dedicated to cheese. The most tempting was an outpost of Fromagerie Charrade Marcel, an affineur noted for its Cantal from the tiny commune of Neussargues-Moissac in the Cantal region. We bought the lot practically, including a beautiful pur brébis from the Iraty region (sheep’s cheese from the home of one of my favorites), two delicious Cantals from raw milk, and a decadent pecorino (sheep’s cheese) with truffles. 

In French and in British English, the word cher or "dear" can refer to both love and expense. The words are perfectly appropriate in the context of cheese! 

Tower of Cantal

Cantal

Pecorino with truffles

By far the most decadent of the cheese dishes were the potatoes topped with different varieties of cheese. They were very tempting, but I'll confess that I passed them by and went for a bowl of choucroute (an Alsatian specialty of sauerkraut with all sorts of sausage and ham on top, not pictured) instead!

Raw ingredients

Final product

Potatoes and cheese...

...and more potatoes and cheese!

Fromage


Fromage

Bistrot du Coin

Bistrot du Coin

Potato Galettes with Munster Cheese

Potato Galettes with Munster Cheese