Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

the benefits of cheese nationalism

January 30, 2008

A friend from Switzerland, about to introduce our party to Eating In Paris, was astonished when I told him that even Holland was famous for its cheese. It belongs to this story that I have to tell the French and Dutch readers at this point that Switzerland is famous for its cheese. Cheese nationalism is universal.

(As an aside, Sweden is not at all the same as Switzerland. Look at the map. The Swedish and The Swiss have different approaches to language as well. I keep repeating these things when abroad. The problem reminds somewhat of the old Boston joke “where do you come from?” “Iowa.” “In these parts it’s actually pronounced Ohio.” [sorry, folks from Idaho, there’s only one way to tell this joke at a time])

Sweden, I wanted to tell, has no specific international cheese reputation. That doesn’t mean that some Swedish cheese isn’t good. Well, okay, some isn’t. Whatever the case, even in Sweden, one tends to become a bit vague when it comes to understanding other nation’s cheeses. (more…)


cutting the cheese

November 20, 2007

This is a post about fairness and cheese. When I lived in a single room someplace north of Haarlem (Holland), one day a French fellow student called me asking whether he could come by with a few Friends who wanted to see my harpsichord. I had been to Paris and gone to see people’s harpsichords myself, so I was familiar with the true objective of these visits: wine, bread and cheese consumption. I told my friend to come, went out in a hurry and stocked up on goods. It was a close call at that: Dutch supermarket baguette at that time was pretty embarrassing, the cheeses I found in the delicatessen shop were great, but too cold, and the wine shop was just about to close when I arrived.

Eventually, two carloads of people arrived, and soon my place was overflowing with assiduously discussing and munching musicians, who did not mind me and my slow French too much, but seemed to enjoy the cheese and wine reasonably well. Unlike Bilbo, who had to run about (more…)