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Weaponizing Cheese

Everything that I am about to tell you is wrong and can or will kill you, especially if you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system, or if you regularly breathe air. I can’t afford a lawyer, so I hope this covers everything and or everybody.

My love for cheese is boundless. I have yet to meet a cheese that I do not find enjoyable The allure of cheese, I've found, is akin to that of wine. This stems from the breed-specific kinds of milk used in cheese-making, which is greatly influenced by the animal's diet. Consider, for example, Parmesan cheese.

The next time you go to the cheese counter, you might notice that Parmesan can vary in color. This variation is largely determined by the season in which the milk-producing animals grazed. Consequently, the flavor profile of Parmesan can range from nutty and straw-like to rich and creamy. I find that these nuances in flavor can significantly impact the dishes I prepare. For instance, while crafting a spring risotto, I would avoid using Parmesan made from fall-harvested milk. But today, we're not here to discuss Parmesan. Our focus is Camembert.

Camembert, a cherished favorite of mine, is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheese hailing from Normandy. On my list of black market cheeses, It ranks high on my list, situated below Pont-l'Évêque but above Brie. The reason for this hierarchy? Bacteria.

Our planet is a mosaic of regions, each fostering distinct bacterial biomes. This biological diversity influences the unique characteristics of regional delicacies, from cheese to bread. A prominent example is the San Francisco Sourdough, a product of a unique bacterial biome found only in San Francisco and a quaint town in Italy. And that, dear reader, is how the initiation of a bread war begins!"

I have a particular reason for ranking Camembert higher than Brie, even though both kinds of cheese share certain similarities. Occasionally, one encounters a Camembert that has spontaneously inoculated with the same bacteria that Pont-l'Évêque is traditionally inoculated with. Imagine stumbling upon a bottle of Kriter Champagne, only to find it filled with Perrier Jouet instead — a delightful surprise!

Recently, I discovered such a unique Camembert at Whole Foods. An 8oz wheel of this cheese has the potency to permeate a minivan with its distinct aroma in less than five minutes. To accentuate its unique characteristics, I would transfer the cheese to my fromagerie.

A fromagerie is an enclosure made of glass and marble and is maintained at room temperature. This setting creates an ideal environment for the cheese to mature further, allowing it to develop an even more pronounced aroma. Some might say the Camembert becomes "weaponized" due to its pungency. As it sits unrefrigerated, the cheese-cultivating bacteria thrive, enhancing its distinct flavor and scent exponentially.


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