Mimolette, Isigny 6 mo. 2/~7# $/#
Produced around the town of Lille, in the Flanders area of Pas-de-Calais, northern France, Mimolette is an aged, raw cow’s milk cheese. Sometimes referred to as Boule de Lille, presumably for its distinctive, spherical shape, the production of Mimolette has many similarities to that of Dutch Edam.
This hard cheese is a solid choice for any cheese board, as its bright color catches the eye. Pair with fresh, juicy grapes that harbor a bit of sweetness or a drizzle of honey (or date syrup) to deepen the savor of the cheese, elevating it to a caramelized onion delight.
The Isigny region used to be one of Europe’s largest wetlands until the sea retreated in the sixteenth century. It left behind a clay soil with rich alluvial sediments, upon which green grass grows abundantly. For centuries, the region’s dairy farmers have produced exceptionally fine milk, earning a well-established reputation for quality.
In fact, thanks to the salty seawater of the Channel, combined with fresh water from the Cotentin peninsula and the Bessin marshes, the region’s climate is mild and damp. The cows which graze these pastures are eating grass which makes their milk rich in mineral salts and trace elements.
So as to preserve what was going to become their brand, the region’s milk producers joined forces. Isigny Sainte-Mère is the combines the resources of two complementary dairy cooperatives. The Isigny-sur-Mer cooperative had been operating in Calvados since 1932. The Sainte-Mère cooperative was set up in 1909 and worked in the neighbouring Manche département.
The two operations merged in 1980. Why? Firstly, the two milk collecting zones complemented each other geographically; both the cooperatives shared the same concerns to ensure quality and the same ambition to achieve it. Everything brought them together: remaining faithful to ancestral know-how, a respect of both the terroir and the men who worked with it and kept it going. The new cooperative set out to conquer the world. It has been so successful that more than half of its sales are exported and the name of Isigny Sainte-Mère is known all over the world.