Dateline: St. Tropez, France
Aboard Oceania Cruise Ship, The Riviera
The cheese shop has a simple name, Fromagerie du Marché, which translates to Cheese Shop of the Market. The Var region of Provence is known for its goat milk cheeses, the leaf-wrapped Banon and Rocamadour especially. With all the leftovers from yesterday’s cheese-shopping excursions in Cannes I restricted my purchasing to just those two today, and again, both of them raw milk.
The French Cheese and Wine Tasting taking place back on board mid-afternoon so I had to head back early. That warning of high-priced restaurants was accurate, my warm goat cheese salad was 14.50 euros, excellent of course but still, a salad costing $20.00? Just as well that I did not have time for a main course.
My French tasting took place in the ship’s signature restaurant, Jacques, named after our New York friend, Jacques Pepin. Lovely dining room; the ship’s Executive Chef assembled a beautiful cheese display for the event. The featured cheeses were some of the iconic French cheeses: Valençay, Camembert, Pont l’Eveque, Cantal, Beaufort and Roquefort. The wines were both from Bordeaux: a lovely Côtes de Blaye white, and an easy-drinking St. Emilion red.
I instructed the guests to taste the wines: first the white, then the red. Then I invited them try the cheeses by themselves, then with the white wine, then with the red. The focus of the seminar was on the cheeses but as is always the case, the wines provided a platform to uncover the nuances in each of the cheeses.
With such gorgeous weather, and while anchored near St. Tropez, I feared we might not have anyone attend this tasting. Apparently all you have to do is mention French cheeses and wines and people will show up.
We will bring a little part of France to our summer venue at Manhattan’s Alison Eighteen Thursday, July 25th. I hope to see you there; it’ll be delish!
- Max McCalman