Friday, 24 February 2012

Bicaillou - Goats and Ash

I have started to look at pumice stones and Mount Vesuvius in a different way. In fact, if I had either next to me right now, I'd probably give them a damn good licking. I'm thankful then that they are not, otherwise I'd soon have a veruca-covered tongue or a hell of a walk home. I haven't gone mental [yet], but I have a new found fondness for those cheeses that have been infiltrated or covered in ash, and so appreciate it more in its base form.

You wouldn't have thought ash was edible. But obviously some materials cannot harm you in a small enough quantity. Take those gold-leaf vodkas. Surely it can't be that good for you to devour such a dense metal, but floating lightly in alcohol it's obviously alright. And it must be the same when throwing ash like confetti all over cheese. However, going to the extreme by eating your mum's 24 karat locket or downing an ash tray from a table at the 'Queen's Head', is probably a sure fire way for getting the poops (nice!).

Last weekend, I found this cheese at one of my favourite Saturday morning haunts - Borough Market at London Bridge. I love this place. It is a culinary carnivale in which taste buds and nasal hairs sing "scaramoosh, scaramoosh!" and dance the fandango. Having [for a good five minutes] resisted the lusciousness around me and instead settled for the many 'taster cubes' of cheese proffered on wooden boards, I caved and wandered towards the Mons Cheesemongers stall below.

I began to chat with the 'monger' while he sliced off a few tasters, but as soon as I sampled the Bicaillou, a grappling hook fired from my mind and thudded into its side. It is a smooth goat's cheese with a beautifully soft ash rind. It doesn't seem to be as crumbly as some of the other goats cheeses that I've tried - more like a soft grey musky nugget of bliss. They produce it way up in the Correze region of France (presumably where there's loads of ash) so it has a good head for heights. It's a bit of a unique one as well - I have tried to search for it but can't find it in many places. You can always go down to Borough Market to source it or order online from the cheesemongers [update on cheesemongers vs farmers coming soon]. Well worth a 7.5 this cheese. Not extremely strong but some beautiful flavours. 

Oh, and just remember that Bicaillou as a character can sometimes be a bit queasy, so just remember to only take it out in the company of high society. Don't know what I mean then see what happened in the Photo Shoot.

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