Cheese from France, some of the first cheese(s) in my memory. Brie, Crottin, Roquefort, Comte, I remember my first taste of these fantastic products. Gabietou is one of my favorites and it is available now. How did this cheese get to Whole Foods Market? Where did you hear about it? When did you first taste it? I get these questions all the time. My cheese memories are associated with people or places. I do not think I am different from many in that respect. Gabietou reminds me of Francois Kerautret. He represents the Hevre Mons products in the United States. Francois is a former chef and a passionate foodie. He lives in Seattle and is full of energy for life and cheese and food and wine and travel…. I first heard of Francois selling cheese out of the back of a truck to the best restaurants in Seattle. His reputation and the smell of great cheeses preceded him. I tasted this cheese January of 2004 in a rented room in San Francisco. It sounds like a spy novel…there are a lot of cheese stories that would fit into spy novels. Back to the cheese selection, Francois had several cheeses for me to review for a potential fall feature. I really enjoyed all of the cheese that day but when I put the Gabietou in my mouth it was like I was transformed. I was a part of a commercial where I was running through the meadows, the breeze going through my hair and the angels were singing. Well, you get the picture, it was darn good. I love the fall and I thought, this is the perfect cheese to welcome the weather change. Gabietou is a cheese specifically selected to fit into the Hevre Mons portfolio of products. The Hevre Mons story is meant for another time as he is so inspirational. Needless to say, if Hevre puts his name on a cheese there is a guarantee that the production is great and his affinage on the cheese even greater. Conceived in 2001 by Gabriel Bachelet, this cheese reflects the nature of the terroir in the French Pyrenees. It is a sheep and cow’s milk cheese. The animals are grazing on the unique flowers and grass in the mountainous area where the tradition of taking the animals to higher elevations to graze as the summer months approach is a part of the history of the region. Gabriel was not able to find a mixed milk cheese he liked so he thought he would make one! He is a true adventurer. This cheese truly reflects his passion and the land where he is a part of. The cheese is minimally 4 months old when it arrives to the United States after further aging with the Mons team. The cheese is aged on wood planks in a controlled environment for the living cheese. The temperature and humidity is controlled by diligent mongers. The flavor is a great balance of the milks, which is about 33% sheep milk from the Basco Bernaise sheep. I love mixed milk cheeses and especially the ones with sheep’s milk. I like the overall sweetness quality that the sheep’s milk brings to the cheese. The texture is out of this world and literally melts in your mouth, it lingers and allows you to savor every second. The flavors are earthy with a nice sweet nutty background (hazelnuts come to mind). I hope you take time to enjoy this treasure of the Pyrenees.