Young Mimolette (mee-moh-let) is an undistinguished, pedestrian cheese with a semihard interior; unless one hits you in the head, it won’t make much of an impression. Once the cheese is subject to careful aging, the magic emerges, they harden, turn a deeper orange on the interior, and take on an exceptionally mouth-watering array of fruity, nutty flavors, with notes of butterscotch and caramel. A well aged Mimolette is pretty to look at inside and out and wonderful to taste. It’s packed with lip smacking jaw clacking flavor.
Type: Pasteurized cow’s milk
Provenance: Around the town of Lille, in French Flanders, primarily the northernmost department of Pas de Calais, south and west of Belgium.
Production: A pressed, cooked cheese. Its degrees of aging are young (3 months), half old (6 months), old (12 months), and very old (24 months). Two fascinating quirks of Mimolette: producers use a wooden mallet to “sound” the cheeses and determine their stage of ripeness; and the rind is inhabited by mites that bore holes in it, which allows the ripening cheese to breathe.
Appearance: Comes in the shape of a cannonball about 8 inches in diameter with a flattened top, weighing up to 7 pounds with a hard natural brushed rind, brownish beige in colour, that becomes rough and cratered with age. The paste is a deep orange colour.
I purchased a Mimolette XO from the Village Cheesemonger in Liberty Village which had been aged for 18 months underground. The cheese has an amazing snappy texture (when you lightly put pressure on the cheese with your front teeth it makes a sort of snapping sound). The texture and colour are the most memorable moments of the Mimolette sampling experience.