Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fermentation-Preservation of the French Culture(s)

Based on the title, you can guess that I love puns. Those who know me well usually let out this big sigh every time.
Anyhow, even though I have finals, papers, events, and deadlines flying closer and closer, I cannot stop thinking about the sunny French countryside [as if I've actually been there...I haven't]. The course I will be taking is called "Microbiology and Culture of Cheese and Wine". I've been looking last year's pictures, and it makes me incredibly hungry. The closest thing I have to French cheese is the wedge of raw gruyere from Trader Joe's that I now probably will end up nibbling on as soon I finish writing this entry as a snack.

 NJ allows raw cheese as long as it is aged over a certain period of time (I think 3 months). Fresh cheese in France is not required to come from pasteurized milk and in fact, the French claim that pasteurization kills the natural properties of milk. I wonder where Louis Pasteur stood on this matter himself (not on pasteurizing milk for storage, but more on the matter of what type of milk makes the better cheese). As a young microbiologist, I consider Louis Pasteur almost a God. He was the father of stereochemistry and analyzing fermentations. I can't wait to see  his house in the French country side, as well as the Institut Pasteur in Paris! I wonder what his favorite cheese was...

I've been developing my palate for more of the stinkier, aged cheeses lately because of another reason. Coming of age--turning 21 also comes with the gift of lessening lactose tolerance. From an evolutionary point of view, I see that my body is regulating gene expression and conserving energy. Nevertheless, I cannot wait to try ALL kinds of cheese in France!


  1. If you are signed into the Rutgers library system, you can watch a video of a French farmer and his family making gruyere by hand. It's an amazing process. Just search cheese in Iris, and select the criteria that the items are in the online library.

  2. I'm so excited to follow you guys, and I hope you bring back some goodies or good recipes from France for the apartment! : )

  3. Very funny.
    Interesting tidbit about NJ raw cheeses and the French perspective on pasteurization. It would be interesting to compare and contrast perspectives on cheese making. Last weekend I went to Cherry Grove Farm in Lawrenceville, NJ for some local cheese.

    Stinky cheeses are lovely especially when they are paired well with the proper wine. Yum.

    Looking forward to hearing more about France.