Mimolette is a familiar sight at cheese shops. The hard French cheese’s bright orange interior is hard to miss, and its mild flavor makes it a mainstay of cheese boards. But there’s another defining characteristic of this cheese—a mottled rind—that just might end up making the cheese ineligible for sale in the United States.
The Huffington Post is reporting that a 1.5 ton shipment of the cheese was blocked from entering the country and later had to be destroyed, because the tiny mites that live on the rind and give it its unique appearance have come under the watchful gaze of U.S. regulators.
Even though there’s no official ban in place, the turning away of this shipment has many cheesemongers (and cheese lovers) wary that the end might be near for this famous cheese, even though the vast majority of mites are long gone by the time the cheese arrives at the cheese shop.
“Mites have been on Mimolette for decades, so why ban it now?,” wondered Raymond Hook, a renowned cheese expert who runs Raymond Hook Specialty. “If people don’t want to eat cheese with mites on the rind, you don’t have to. They dust or blow off the majority of the mites, and most people don’t eat the rind of the Mimolette anyway.”
And while he told us that’s he’s all for robust regulation to ensure a wholesome product, Hook also stressed a fact that a lot of people forget: “Cheese is a living thing,” he added. “Some has blue mold growing on it, some has a white bloom on it, some has a few mites on it. All add to flavor development.”
In the meantime, sales of Mimolette have been booming. If you haven’t tried the cheese, we suggest you find a way to do so before it’s too late.