In the five days that Food52's design team has been traveling through Europe, we've by no means held back on our consumption of cheese. A slab of barnyard-y Brie for breakfast, Comté by the curlicue to prepare one's belly for more dessert. Snack cheese. Free cheese. Ashy cheese. Cheese.
We had started the journey in Antwerp, where our cheese intake was matched only by our ability to drink the local beer, so by the time we sat down for lunch in the itsy town of Merville, France, a green or three might have been nice. Instead, we were reminded that more is almost always better.
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As guests that day at the factory where Staub makes all its enameled cast iron cookware, we were treated to a three-course meal (with a view of molten cast iron being dispensed from 30-foot tall furnaces, amongst other visual delights). There were too many moments to count that saw us all gathered together, slack-jaw in amazement at the world we were suddenly privy to.
But our first "can't wait to show it off back home" lesson came with the cheese plate.
Thierry, Head of Development at Staub, was joining us for lunch. After buttering a hunk of bread, he didn't salt it or even eat it—he next slathered it with cheese. Somebody noticed and remarked: Wait—the butter goes under the cheese? Pause. Big smile. Yes! He went on to say that in France, it's actually traditional to eat cheese and bread with butter between them. Intrepidly, skeptically, we followed suit. It's not just good, as you can imagine it being. It's game-changing.
Slipped between bread and cheese slice, a cold smear of butter works magic, lending its melty sweetness and, if you've opted for salted, an even cheesier flavor to the cheese. Cheesier cheese. You've done it, France! Follow suit: On your next cheese plate, drop a knob of butter amongst the boulders. Nobody will be mad about it.
Yes, seeing the cast iron cocottes being made was even more of a revelation than butter-on-cheese—and we'll be sharing all about it in the coming weeks! Follow our trip with the hashtag #f52abroad for more glimpses into our trip!