The following is excerpted from a guest post on Jimmy Moore’s “Livin La Vida Low Carb” blog:
“My name is Sarah and I’m an American ex-patriot living in France. I have to say I listen to stories of the regulated raw milk market back in the States with great puzzlement.
I’m an American living in France and here raw milk is everywhere. It’s not as prevalent as pasteurized milk, of course, (even the French have moved to industrialized production of most foods), but the French are very protective of their gastronomic history. That history is heavily rooted in cream…and butter…and cheese.
Despite the fact that Louis Pasteur (the inventor of “pasteurization”) was French, the highest-quality, most-sought-after dairy products are all made from raw, not pasteurized, dairy.
Here are 4 reasons why France is raw milk heaven:
The most famous (and delicious) French cheeses are made with raw milk. Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, and all of the best of these cheeses are made with raw milk. Other than cheddar cheese (which I buy for Mexican food that I make myself) and store-bought ricotta and mascarpone, most of the cheese I buy is made from raw milk. Sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, cow’s milk, water buffalo milk–all of it is raw. Raw milk cheeses are sold in grocery stores and little corner markets too all across France. You can find industrial cheeses too such as cream cheese, crazily shelf-stable grated cheeses, plastic-packaged (and tasting) kid-pack cheese products, and very weak imitations of the famous French cheeses. But most people, even of modest means, prefer the raw stuff, and most grocers oblige them, despite the shorter shelf life. Cheese in all it’s forms is a living organism, although I don’t know how many people go in for the living critter crusts of some of the really rural farm cheeses (spider cheese is worth checking out if you have a strong stomach and large curiosity).
There is a big debate in Paris, and it involves fat and salt found in butter. Salted (in particular for those from the Brittany region–like my husband) or “Sweet” (unsalted) is the point of contention. But no one denies that the best boutique brands of butter that are served in the top Michelin-starred restaurants are made from raw milk. People traverse Paris to go to the cheese shops that stock those brands and I’m very lucky that my local cheese market carries one of those brands. In our house, we use Salted butter and the flavor is unbelievable. I’m not the only one who thinks this brand is amazing, by the way–food blogger extraordinaire David Lebovitz has also blogged about this same amazing brand of butter. Twice.
Cream is a whole series of products in France, actually. There is crème fraîche, which is a cultured cream which is made somewhat like yogurt–a fermenting bacteria is added to cream, and it renders a tangy and unbelievably rich product. Like other dairy products in general supermarkets, you find this cooking staple pasteurized, but once again the best ones are made from raw milk and have a much richer, deeper flavor and an unbelievably rich texture. ….”