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When I was in Paris as a student in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the offered items of restaurant and café food were still peasantly simple – staunch and traditional favourites of the natives.
Both radishes and Roquefort cheese were offered with a pat of butter. Why?
I never quite saw the reason why the taste of radishes would be enhanced by the addition of butter. And just how should that combination have been eaten anyway?
But I was soon to notice that customers used a knife to blend the Roquefort with the proffered butter. So I did the same.
The result was delicious. The salty astringency of the cheese was transformed into a blend of softness and creaminess – retaining all the wonderful taste of the cheese.
Roquefort may still be served with butter in French eating places. In Paris, the only restaurant that I know of that still serves that “traditional” menu, and at a reasonable cost, is the enormous and fun Chartier, 7 Rue de Faubourg Montmartre.
The last time that I ate there, Roquefort was not on the menu, but Blue d’Auvergne was, and it was offered with beurre. Radishes were not featured.
So I recommend that for a cheese treat you put a lump of butter in a bowl, allow it to soften, add twice its volume of Roquefort cheese, and mash the two together with a fork.
Place the bowl in a freezer bag if keeping it in the refrigerator.