Saturday, 1 June 2013

Back home

Not long before I pass out in my bed; it has been a long and hard day but we are home. Having a van to take to France is great (and a day trip to Belgium too: you don't spend a year in Belgium without afterwards getting nostalgic for Cuberdon sweets, shrimp croquettes, Cecemel chocolate milk and about 200 different sorts of beer)  but finding places to put all the wine and food when you get home is no fun at all. I fear that I will get killed under an avalanche of biscuits when I open a particular cupboard door. All will feel better after a good night's sleep.
French cheeses for a Frenchman: I have completed my mission to bring back 6 French supermarket cheeses for my friend's French husband. I was tempted to sneak in a Belgian Herve but resisted as it wasn't in the remit. I do hope he will be happy...
So we have the requested Cancoillotte oozing in its pot, plus the local Maroilles and Boulette d'Avesnes, both in a cloud of stench. I was given a hint that Comte would go down well and managed to search around the aisles and find not the usual 5-month old, nor 7, nor 9 (although I did buy one of those in reserve that I can surely use myself) but 15-month-old, which I am hoping might have the nutty, slightly marmitey flavour and granular texture I'd expect. Then goats' cheese: this isn't really my thing but I did a bit of reading up and ended up with a Selles-sur-Cher, which is caked in ash and looks suitably dark, wrinkled and shrivelled to have a good bit of personality, I hope. And finally I just had to pick a Camembert (about a quarter of the cheese section in each supermarket is given over to them, you can't ignore them) and this one, made from raw milk, had won a prize recently which I hope bodes well. And before you ask the obvious, no he doesn't like blue cheese. The blue went to my friend Jenny who rolled home earlier, after doing a very good job of quality control on some of our newly-bought wine, with a lovely-looking wheel of Fourme d'Ambert, and a much more dainty embodiment of goats' milk in a set of 3 cute little Cabecous. I think in total we brought home 16 cheeses and there was a satisfying stink reminiscent of bad nappy bags when I opened the cool box after a day on the road. Good job done. 
We went to an aquarium while we were on holiday and very good it was too. I saw some tiny little white starfish that were very very similar to the snowflakes I saw recently: spot the difference (again apologies for the photography):-

The photo is so bad that it really doesn't do them justice, but they really did look just the same, honest.

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