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A Royal Boule
Otherwise known as the boule de Lille, the Mimolette has been produced in Lille, France since the seventeenth century. This semi-hard cow’s milk cheese identifiable by a pockmarked rind and vibrant orange pâté can be consumed at different stages of maturity, anywhere between two months to two years.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
Beneath its craggy exterior, the Mimolette has a fruity aroma. Its dense, smooth texture makes it comparable to the Dutch Edam, though it possesses an intensely nutty, sweet butterscotch flavor all of its own. Its chewy texture gives way to a fudgy, mouth-filling finish.
This cheese’s bright tangerine color comes from the incorporation of annatto seeds into the curding process. An important part its affinage is the use of microscopic cheese mites to create tiny holes crucial to the ripening process. These mite colonies are strictly regulated to ensure proper maturation.
The Mimolette goes beautifully in omelets and other dishes that require sharp Cheddar-like cheeses. On a cheese board, it is best sampled with barely salted crackers and toasted walnuts. Its powerful flavor pairs with rustic, earthy red wines like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Carignan. We like it with our velvety Portuguese wine, Quinta da Bica Vinhas Velhas (2015). For a match in intensity, fortified wines like Banyul or Sherry make perfect partners for it too. This bold boule’s malty undertones also make it a beer-lover’s choice — best with oak-aged ales or stouts.
BY ORDER OF THE SUN KING
During the reign of Louis XIV, when France was at war with the Netherlands, trade of the then-popular Edam cheese was banned. The people of Lille decided to make their own version from the same basic recipe — with a twist. Thus, the Mimolette, with its flattened top and bottom and distinct pâté color, was born.
In its whole round form, this cheese is particularly tough to crack open, requiring the same technique as that used for the Parmigiano Reggiano. To add to its notoriety, the Mimolette was temporarily banned in the United States in the early 2010s because of the mites and the dust from their holes.
Store in fridge once opened.