© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd


© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

Newer: Kálmán, cockers and confit Older: Diverse delights

Reflected glory, or bedazzlement?

How often do we hear of something defined in "aiming-off" orienteering terms? You know the score — "the poor man's Arsenal" (though after today's showing, surely Arsenal are the poor man's Arsenal?), or "East Kilbride's answer to David Attenborough". Though I still prefer the honesty of "I am to golf what Mozart was to fluid dynamics".

Yesterday, I saw (and tasted) an interesting looking little cheese called l'Édel de Cléron. Dainty, semi-soft, rinded, spruce-girdled, from Franche-Comté. Tuck in, and it's rich with mountain milk, slightly tangy (but not aggressively so), and quite addictive. But when I went to the Web to find out more, I found out less. Just about every reference called it faux vacherin. I'm sorry, vacherin is vacherin, and this is its own master. The few sites which did not call it vacherin tried to call it a mountain brie. Great: is that like an Essex haggis?

Yes, we all relativise, whether it's "a hint of juhfark in this wine", or "that gjetost is like Stenhousemuir toffee", or the more (ahem) mainstream "cat's pee on a gooseberry bush". Is it useful, or is it lazy?

Answers, please, via the comment box below.


I guess it's useful IF you are trying to map out a territory, a ball park, to help someone unfamiliar with the item in question to get a feel for the sort of thing it is. As a put down, it's useful too. But yes, of course, sometimes it's just downright lazy, misleading even, and (worst of all perhaps) serves only as a way of falsely homogenising what should be celebrated as rich diversity.

That's it! It's the 'false homogenisation' that's the problem. To keep to the cheese example, "it's made in the same way as vacherin is, but with lightly pasteurised milk", rather than "it's faux vacherin". Leading from the known to the unknown, rather than putting up a painted backcloth.

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