Pronunciation: [mee-moh-LEHT]

Bright orange, ball-shaped cheese that originated in Flanders during the Middle Ages. At that time, Flanders included parts of northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands, which is why Mimolette is still produced in some of these areas. It's also known as Mimolette Française, Boule de Lille and Vieux Lille (many of the cheeses were originally ripened in Lille, a city in northern France near the Belgian border). The bright orange color of Mimolette comes from annatto, a natural dye derived from the achiote tree. Mimolette has a progression of ripening stages: jeune ("young") is aged 3 months, demi-étuvée or demi-vieille ("half old") for 6 months, vieille en étuvée ("old") for 12 months and très vieille ("very old") for 2 years. Younger versions have a mild flavor with fruity, nutty nuances; older cheeses have a fuller, tangier flavor. Young cheeses are firm and compact, while older ones become hard and brittle. See also cheese.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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