Chow Town

Once banned, the French cheese Mimolette returns

Our first box of Mimolette after being banned for over a year.
Our first box of Mimolette after being banned for over a year. Special to The Star

It’s baaaack! It’s the scary cheese, French, round, dark orange with a rind that is so cratered that it looks like the surface of an uninhabited planet in the outer reaches of space.

The name does not really inspire the kind of horror that this cheese truly brings. That’s right, this horrible French atrocity is called Mimolette.

The last shipment of this cheese was quarantined by the Food and Drug Administraion in New Jersey more than a year ago. It never made it to American cheese shops. Thank goodness.

The main issue was the almost microscopic mite on the rind of the cheese. Never mind that the FDA had allowed these awful cheeses into the U.S. for more than 20 years.

The possibility of a minor allergic reaction to the dusty cheese was too much for cheese lovers to handle now. No more Mimolette, said the FDA. “We will keep you safe.”

The newly made “safe” cheese arrived last week. As I peered into the box I saw what looked like a 12-month-old Mimolette. It’s hard as a rock with crusty mite holes all over it. There was a little less mite dust in this box of Mimolette, but other than that there was not much difference.

The appearance was the same. The smell was the same — an almost pineapple-sweet aroma. The flavor was the same — salty and a little nutty. Good, but lacking the complexities of other French masterpieces.

So what is the difference between then and now? We may never know. I asked the importer/distributor. He had not heard any specifics. He thought the FDA had just moved on and began to focus on raw milk cheeses.

We may never know why it was taken away and why it is back again, but in the meantime come get some Mimolette. I will cut you a piece. It’s “safe” now. The FDA said so.

Check out the video below to see what a very active pile of cheese mites looks like. It’s OK. They only bite the cheese.

Lincoln Broadbooks loves cheese. He is one of the first cheesemongers in the United States and Canada to become an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional. He is the manager and buyer for The Better Cheddar in Prairie Village. You can find him on Twitter @LincolnBbooks and on Instagram @lincycheese.

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