Milk: Cow milk
The Mimolette is a most unusual cheese, spherical like an Edam but with a rough moon-like surface and a bright orange interior. It resembles a cantaloupe when cut open.
The cheese originated in Holland and is made in a similar way to Edam, using pasteurised cows’ milk.. It is believed to have been introduced to France when Flanders was a part of that country. Some believe that in the 17th century the French minister Colbert forbade the importation of foreign goods, including cheese, and so the French began making it for themselves. It was originally made by the request of Louis XIV, who – in the context of Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s mercantilistic policies – was looking for a native French product to replace the then very popular Edam. To differentiate it from Edam, however, he had it colored orange.
It is now made in Flanders and also in other parts of France, particularly Brittany, and it is often known as ‘Boule de Lille’. The name Mimolette derives from ‘mi-mou‘ meaning ‘half-soft‘. The name Boule de Lille derives from a ripening cellar in the city of Lille, where the cheese was originally matured.
A cow’s-milk cheese, it normally weighs about 2 kg (approximately 4.5 pounds). The crust is soft when young – with age it becomes harder. It has a gray crust (non-edible) and orangish flesh. It is a matured Edam that is allowed to ripen for around six month to nine. The natural rind ranges in colour from yellow orange to light brown and is pitted, dry and hard. Intensely fruity, it is popular as a cooking cheese and as a snack to eat with a glass of beer. When young (4 – 6 month), the cheese is firm compact and slightly oily with a subtle fruity aroma and a mellow nutty taste. Most of this cheese is, however, eaten when aged. The bright, deep tangerine colour of the cheese is due to the natural dye, annatto.
Mimolette can be consumed at different stages of aging. When younger, its taste resembles that of Parmesan. Most cheese lovers appreciate it most when “extra-old” (extra-vieille). At that point, it can become rather hard to chew, and the flesh takes a hazelnut-like flavour.