On Wednesday, October 8th, the French Club had a very cheesy experience. Julien Garrec, a marketer for the French Cheese Board, brought various types of cheese to BSGE’s French Club. This event was organized by French teacher Mr. Rajiv to allow students to enjoy a different part of the French culture and combine it with learning the language.
Mr Garrec brought hazelnuts, dried cherries, almonds, long salted crackers, small slices of french bread, jam, and of course, a few varieties of cheese for the students to taste. Grace C’19, enjoyed being “able to taste cheese and get to learn new words in French.”
Because students were so accustomed to only hearing their French teacher speak, some students had difficulty understanding someone new. Even though Mr Rajiv speak to his students exclusively in French, several students were lost in translation when Mr. Garrec began speaking. For the first few minutes, much of the French Club members sat speechless; several eyes flit to and fro, wondering if they were the only ones trying to decipher Mr. Garrec’s low, deep French. Yet, students quickly became accustomed to Mr Garrec’s accent and mannerisms. His PowerPoint presentation, although in French, had photos that helped the more visual learners understand the love most of France has for cheese.
There were several types of cheeses at this tasteful event. There was Brie, which is a slightly chewy, white elastic cheese. It was very creamy, and very rich, so it was better in smaller quantities. Mr. Rajiv commented that the pungent brie cheese pushed much of the French club out of its comfort zone which was part of the purpose of the event. Comté, another type of cheese tasted much like cheddar cheese, and was very thick. It came in cute little cubes, which were quite filling.
However, the tasty treat that seemed to be the most popular with students was the magnificent French salted butter. It consisted of just the right amount of saltiness, creaminess, and delectable goodness. This butter was so succulent that once the slices of French bread had run out, some students felt the need to spread the butter on the almonds, just to experience another taste.
Other popular food items at the event were long salted crackers which Matthew D’19 said tasted like “the concentrated form of the scent of baking bread inside something you can taste.”
Mr. Rajiv was inspired to host this event after seeing an ad in the newspaper for a cheese tasting by the French Cheese Board. He felt “that there’s not enough gastronomy involved with the foreign language department, specifically French.” Gastronomy should not be confused with any bodily emissions, but is actually the practice or art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food. He hopes to host more events like this in the future.
When the French Cheese Board opened up in Midtown Manhattan, cheese connoisseur Julien Garrec booked a one-way flight to America. His mission was to promote cheese in the United States, and he has been doing just that for the past two years. He commented on how many people dislike bleu cheese for its strong flavor and smelliness. Julien felt that “cheese is a very cultural thing,” and he felt proud to share the experience, because he loves when “American customers discover the richness and diversity of French cheeses.”
So, next time you get a piece of cheese, remember to savor it, and let its flavors overwhelm you. Be a little cheesy.