|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2011)|
|Country of origin||France|
|Region, town||Nord, Lille|
|Source of milk||Cow|
|Aging time||2 Months - 2 Years|
Mimolette is a cheese traditionally produced around the city of Lille, France. In France, it is also known as Boule de Lille after its city of origin, or vieux Hollande for being made after the tradition of Edam cheese. In some areas of Belgium and the Netherlands, such as Flanders, it is also known as commissiekaas.
It was originally made by the request of Louis XIV, who - in the context of Jean-Baptiste Colbert's mercantilistic policies - was looking for a native French product to replace the then very popular Edam. To differentiate it from Edam, however, he had it coloured orange.
A cow's-milk cheese, it normally weighs about 2 kg (approximately 4.5 pounds). Its name comes from the French word molle, meaning "soft". This refers to the softness of the crust when young - with age it becomes harder. It has a grey crust and orangish flesh. The orange colour comes from the natural colorant, annatto. The cheese has a similar appearance to a cantaloupe melon.
The greyish crust of aged Mimolette is the result of cheese mites intentionally introduced to add flavor by their action on the surface of the cheese.
Mimolette can be consumed at different stages of aging. When younger, its taste resembles that of Parmesan. Many appreciate it most when "extra-old" (extra-vieille). At that point, it can become rather hard to chew, and the flesh takes a hazelnut-like flavour.
In April 2013, the Food and Drug Administration blocked imports of mimolette to the United States. Cheese was deemed "unfit for consumption" by the United States Customs and 1,500 pounds of cheese was ordered to be destroyed. "The article appears to consist in whole or in part of a filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance or be otherwise unfit for food", wrote the FDA inspectors to explain their refusal to allow the famous orange ball of cheese, more or less aged, on American soil.
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- Jenkins, Steven (1996). Cheese Primer. Workman Publishing Company. pp. 64, 65. ISBN 978-0-89480-762-6.
- Food and Drug Administration. "Import Refusal Report".