Not sure I’d recognise the place. Saigon that is. I’ve been grinning my way through Jon’s posts at It’s the Final Word, one of a number of English language Vietnam blogs I continue to follow since moving to France. He’s busy documenting changes he sees on the streets of Saigon – buildings that go up, those that come down, abysmal chain stores that take root etc. His blog is a great wee way of keeping posted direct from the streets. As always, if you know of any new Vietnam blogs, particularly those like Jon’s, with a keen eye for the minutae, the wallpaper of the city – please post a comment, email etc. Yet to find a new food one, but I hope it’s only a matter of time.
Kind of inspired by Jon, I thought I’d post a few (crappy) photos I took yesterday and this morning from Toulouse. Pictured above is the statue of Toulousian poet Pierre Goudouli in Place Wilson. The humour value of Fairy Liquid in a fountain never fails to cheer me up.
As can be seen from the Sunday edition of the local rag – La Dépêche du Midi – it turned out crap again. Rain, drizzle, wind, grey, dull and suicidal, all very un-south of France if you ask me, which you didn’t.
On Sunday I ate too much. The bread above is very, very good stuff. It can be found on Victor Hugo market. I’ll blog more on it one day. A hard crust protects an intelligent dough – that sounds daft and it is daft, but I’m adjective buggered ce matin. It makes for a more than decent partner to the cheesy specimen below.
And this is where this blog post gets slightly interesting – bear with me. This is Vieux Boulogne. It’s a cheese. This is the first time I have ever tasted it. As I sniff it’s cheese power I twitter about it from my mobile,
What I didn’t know then, but do know now is that my nose is electronic,
"Scientists at a Bedfordshire university have found what could be the smelliest cheese in the world. Vieux Boulogne, a soft cheese from northern France, beat 14 other whiffy varieties in tests. Experts at Cranfield University – who led the research –
used an "electronic nose" to analyse the cheese odours, along with a
panel of 19 human testers… The particularly pungent smell of the Vieux Boulogne is created by the beer reacting with enzymes in the cheese. It even beat Epoisses de Bourgogne, a cheese so smelly it is banned from being taken on public transport in its native France." From BBC News.
Much banter ensued upon the arrival of the Vieux Boulogne on the cheese splattered table. Six adults and four children struggled with adjectives to adequately describe the foul stench that had gatecrashed a pleasant Sunday afternoon. My first thought was chlorine, but not the straight chemical in a bottle stuff. More man chlorine. It’s street wall toilet chlorine or, more precisely, stale urine in the heat of the summer sun. Close your eyes and you could be face to face, or rather nose to Armitage Shanks, with a filthy French urinal. Clearly not a cheese that makes friends easily, but it’s creamy and rich and far tastier than it reeks. Other noses have their say,
"The odour of rotting vegetables and the scent of a goat on heat"
"Unwrapped from its plastic covering the Vieux Boulogne sent an aroma of
six-week-old earwax floating through the Guardian’s offices. From a
safe distance of 50 metres, the cheese emitted a pleasant eau de
farmyard, replete with dung and Barbour jackets. Close up, its firm
orange flesh, flecked with a delicate mould, recalled varnish." via Petite Anglaise.