Random topics: French cheese, Hello Kitty and New Zealand whiskey

1.) French cheese makers suffer a dark night of the soul: “‘The big industrial producers will not tolerate the existence of other modes of production. They are determined to impose a bland homogeneity upon the consumer –- cheese shaped objects with a mediocre taste and of poor quality because the pasteurisation process kills the product,’ says Véronique Richez-Lerouge, founder of France’s Unpasteurised Cheese Association, which lobbies to protect traditional raw-milk varieties.”

The article notes that seventy years ago, when French cuisine was arguably considered among the best in the world, 100% of French cheese was made from raw, unpasteurised milk. Today, only 10% of French cheese is still made from locally farmed, unpasteurised milk.

*Related, maybe?: French restaurants fail to make world’s 2014 top ten list

2.) Hello Kitty is not a cat. Everything is a lie.“I did in fact know about Charmmy Kitty before. But I always assumed that owning another, smaller cat was just an act of weird sadism on Hello Kitty’s part, the way you see Micky Mouse goofing around with Goofy while owning Pluto.”

Apparently, Hello Kitty is a little girl instead of, you know, a cute kitten dressed up like a third grader. As the article’s author states, “all the household items (backpacks, toothbrushes, golf bags, makeup kits, car key doodads) that are fine when they have the image of a stylised cat on them become quite alarming when they turn out to be pictures of a young British girl.”

Some things truly are better left unsaid.

3.) New Zealand distiller creates the first Manuka-smoked whiskey“The single malt is made from barley grown in New Zealand’s South Island and kilned using New Zealand Manuka wood. The product imparts a smooth natural smokiness reminiscent of peated Scotch whisky, yet entirely unique to New Zealand with its distinct Manuka notes.”

Speaking of the south island, there are a few barley fields right beside the place where we’ll (soon!) be building our home. They’re a lovely wash of gold tones in summer, before the harvest.

Back on topic, however — while I’m not a fan of smokey whiskies (the peat doesn’t do it for me . . . at all), I’m interested in what a manuka smoked whiskey can/will taste like. The manuka bush already produces an amazing honey that packs a wallop of flavour as well as proven medicinal properties . . . that is, once you add a pack of honey bees to the mix.

But of course, and alas, once an item (like manuka honey) is discovered and globally popularised, it becomes grist to the counterfeiting mill: Manuka honey fraud – what else is fake in our food?

*NOTE: The whiskey world also deals with its fair share of fakery trauma“The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) branded Australia as one of the worst offenders in the world in dealing in counterfeit spirits, estimating that as many as two million imitation bottles of whisky have been sold there since 2005 . . . (the) SWA claim Australian companies dilute Scotch with other spirits and then try to pass it off as whisky, while others take cheap whiskies and add oak staves to make them taste older than they are.”

Is there nothing sacred?!!