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Accidental Locavore: On Cheese and Charcuterie in the South of France

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Accidental Locavore Cheses in NiceOf course, as soon as you think of France, you think of cheese. However, on previous trips when the Accidental Locavore has been in the South of France, the cheese often took a backseat to whatever else we were eating (same for oysters, but that's another story). The only glaring exception: an incredible cheese service at the end of dinner at the la Chèvre d'Or in Eze years ago.

This trip, we made up for lost time. Forgoing the marché in the Cours Saleya, where the cheese has been disappointing, we went to a tiny fromagerie near our favorite spot for croissants and baguettes -- Chez Maître Pierre. I picked out an interesting looking chèvre with a cross on it - and since it was the week before Easter, asked if it was a special Easter cheese (it wasn't) - and a St Marcellin.

Accidental Locavore Cheese at Lou FromaiLater in the week, we really struck a jackpot when Frank wandered into Lou Fromaï. He proudly came home with a very special chèvre: le rouleau Méditerranéen (it's the log in the top right in the photo) that he was told was something you could only get locally. He said there was even a picture of the goat whose milk was used in the cheese. Let me tell you, this cheese was amazing!

Because we essentially inhaled the cheese for supper that night, the next day we needed to re-stock. Never, ever go into a fromagerie on an empty stomach (OK, even on a full one it's always dangerous territory!)! We bought another log of the rouleau and a wedge of brie that they stuffed with black truffles -- also spectacular!

Accidental Locavore PicnicThen it was on to their charcuterie, to augment what we had picked up from the local butcher and the marché. This is where we discovered the smoked pork tenderloin (which, if you have a smoker you owe it to yourself to try). They also had one of the best salamis I've ever had, probably because it came from the famed Spanish black-footed pigs. Ditto the chorizo.

Armed with that, another good baguette, some mustard (I had forgotten how wonderful and strong the most average French mustard is) and some cornichons, we had the makings of a great picnic and took it all to one of the most beautiful places in the area, the Foundation Maeght, where, after touring the exhibition and the gardens, we happily devoured it.Accidental Locavore Foundation Maeght Gardens