Hard, brittle, bright-orange
cheese with a very nutty flavour.
The Mimolette is a most unusual cheese,
spherical like an Edam but with a rough moon-like surface and a bright
orange interior. It resembles a melon when cut
The cheese originated in Holland and is
made in a similar way to Edam. It is believed to have been introduced
to France when Flanders was a part of that country. Some believe that
in the 17th century the French minister Colbert forbade the importation
of foreign goods, including cheese, and so the French began making it
for themselves. It is now made in Flanders and also in other parts of
France, particularly Brittany, and it is often known as 'Boule de Lille'.
The name Mimolette derives from 'mi-mou' meaning 'half-soft'. The name
Boule de Lille derives from a ripening cellar in the city of Lille, where
the cheese was originally matured.
Maturing the cheeses involves storing them
in damp cellars and turning them every week. At the same time the surface
of the cheese is brushed to remove cheese mites which feast on its surface.
As the cheese ages, evidence of mites can be seen in the pitted and moon
like surface which appears on the cheese.
Mimolette can be eaten young but is usually
matured for a minimum of six months when it is called 'demi-étuvée' or
'demi-vielle' (half old). The texture is firm and oily and the colour
a vivid orange. With ageing it slowly hardens and dries and the colour
changes from carrot to orange-brown. At twelve months it is called 'vielle
en étuvée' (old) and at two years it is called 'très vielle' (very old).
We mature ours to 18 months since we believe it gives the best combination
of texture and flavour - we call it Mimolette Vieux (or Vielle). It has
a firm texture with a very nutty flavour and a thick brown-grey crust.
The cheese is not a perfect sphere but
is slightly flattened at both ends. Each Mimolette has a diameter of 20cm,
weighs between 3 and 4kg, and has a fat content of 40%. All Mimolette
is made using pasteurised cows' milk. Mimolette is excellent on the cheese
board but can also be used in canapés and for grating.