M. Fromage in Le Parisien
At the end of the first day of the Salon du Fromage, I was in the VIP room getting ready to leave when I ran into the Salon’s marketing representative, Cécelia, who had first contact me about the show. She mentioned there was a reporter who was curious about which cheeses were popular in the US. It was thus that I was introduced to Bérangère Lepetit, a journalist who writes on agriculture and food for Le Parisien.
We got to talking. She looked stunned when I said that, for the most part, Americans were oblivious to the whole debate about pasteurized versus raw milk—which is a big deal these days in France. She looked at me like I was from Mars when I said that Brie (and really bad Brie) was the only French cheese most people had ever known.
Somewhere around the middle of our twenty-minute conversation, an older gentleman came over. This was obviously someone important, and she explained he was the reason she was there in the first place. He sat down next to her and across from me. After a few minutes I realized he was listening intently to our conversation, as did she. She gave him a knowing look when I started talking about my feeling that the small producers and their importance to the continued perception (and reality) of excellence of French cheeses.
The gentleman introduced himself by handing over his card. He didn’t mention that he was the President of the Salon; I saw that on the card, along with his surname, Dubois. He did mention that he had a nephew who owned a few cheese shops. I still don’t know whether he was this nonchalant for the sake of humor or modesty, the latter being appropriate if I had no idea from his surname that his nephew was Laurent Dubois, Meilleur Ouvrier de France. I smiled knowingly, as I had just visited one of those shops in Paris’ 6th arrondissement.
Bérangère and I met in Clichy the following weekend, where we spoke for several hours and intermittently went over to Belisson to talk to Michael Belissa and take pictures. The one of me at the table with the big rounds of cheese is in his boutique.
As for the article, the only part I really took issue with was her description of my accent, so think you could cut it with a knife. A French person will never mistake me for a French person, but I know I’m not that bad! But she did draw the conclusion that I’ve become, for an amateur at least, knowledgeable about French cheeses, which was satisfying. And yes, I did say that for the most part the Brie we get in the States is shitty. There was plenty else we talked about, like the increasing production of raw milk cheeses and availability of foreign cheeses in the US, that ended up on the cutting room floor.
In any event, I am thrilled to have been the subject of the article, which was great publicity for the blog as well as fromagerie Belisson in Clichy, my new favorite cheese store.
Welcome, Le Parisien readers. Thank you for stopping by and for your interest. I’d love to hear from you.
Article: An American melted in brie (Le Parisien, March 12, 2016, in French)