If you know me, you know I love cheese. It is the food of my people, the Swiss. If I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life, I would hands down choose cheese. Food of the gods, I tell you. And it is for this reason that I love the French, for they have 350-400 distinct cheeses, more than any other people in the world. In my opinion, this makes up for any cultural quirks on their part.
But did you know that France is in danger of losing many of the distinct cheeses that set this country apart for its diversity of frommage? Have you ever wondered why the same type of cheese made a mere 10 miles apart can have such different flavor, making each curd unique? It's the microorganisms, baby. Every location, every cave, has its own variety of species, which imparts the flavor special to that area. Many of these caves are being abandoned or new ones are being built. Just ask Noella Marcellino, a.k.a. "The Cheese Nun", a microbiologist who has spent several years studying the variety of fungi that grow on the rinds of cheeses produced in the traditional caves of France. I'm not sure why I am so late to the Cheese Nun party, but now am a complete convert after watching the PBS documentary. The doc focuses on Noella's studies and her importance to the cheesemaking world. If you love cheese and/or are interested in the preservation of agricultural heritage and biodiversity, watch this film.