The Weird and Wild World of Mimolette

The world of cheese is as vast and as varied as the many countries that produce this delicious dairy item. One of our favorite types of cheese is mimolette, a bright orange cheese that is uniquely made by introducing mites to the surface of the cheese. While we know you may not want bugs in your food, we are here to help you reconsider by telling you why mimolette is so delicious. 

What is Mimolette? 

Mimolette is a firm, bright orange French cheese with a dusty gray rind that closely resembles a cantaloupe. Weighing in at nearly 5 pounds, a wheel of mimolette is a hefty hunk of cheese. A ball is actually a more accurate descriptor of this mighty cheese and it is a tough cheese; the rind of mimolette is notoriously difficult to crack open. Once you’re able to excavate a way into this cheese you are greeted by a bright orange interior. The color of this delicious cheese is produced by the addition of annatto, which adds color, but not flavor. 

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Image Credit: Flickr user waitscm ( CC BY 2.0 )

So, What’s With the Bugs?

Cheese mites are a normal part of cheesemaking, especially when it comes to aged cheeses. These little bugs typically consume the rind of the cheese and are often swept away by cheesemakers throughout the cheesemaking process. With mimolette, however, cheesemakers encourage the mites to devour the rind, adding additional flavor to the interior of the cheese. Before the cheese is prepared for human consumption, the mites are removed from the exterior. 

Image Credit: Flickr user fred_v is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Culinary uses of Mimolette

While there are many cheeses that serve double duty as a snack and a useful cooking ingredient, we think mimolette is best eaten out of hand. Mimolette can be aged for anywhere from 6 to 12 months. The younger variety more closely resembles Parmesan in texture, whereas older mimolette is very firm. Both varieties displace a deep caramelized, almost toffee-like flavor with a savory saltiness. If you want to add some of these delicious flavors to your food, you can grate mimolette onto foods as you would Parmesan. Try adding some to Double Baked Potatoes, Buffalo Mac and Cheese, or Broccoli Cheddar Soup.   

Feature Image: Flickr user jlastrasCC BY 2.0 )

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