Call for entries: the hunt for songs

Our goal is 100 songs!

Philippe Olivier, vice-Prévôt of the Guilde, is working to complete a collection of songs and other quotations linked to the history of cheese. The aim is to pass on "the art, culture and tradition of cheese".
For the past ten years, Philippe Olivier has been filling a box with songs, quotations, proverbs and sayings linked in one way or another to cheese. His aim is to publish a book for the general public featuring 100 cheese songs, interspersed with quotations, proverbs and, why not, drawings or sketches. I want future generations to keep a trace of all this literature," confides the Guild's Vice-Prevost. All my life, I've been committed to passing on the art, culture and tradition of cheese-making. I'm passionate about this part of my job."

He would like this book to help the trade develop this spirit of culture, possibly through distribution in certain creameries. He can already see the coffin coming out of the coffin: "Some singers could sing selected pieces presented in the book. While some songs have their scores, for others all that remains is the text.

Through encounters

Anonymous texts, simple texts, texts he doesn't like, Philippe Olivier preserves every trace he can catch a glimpse of. Torn scraps of paper, old books, aged manuscripts - nothing escapes him. "I've created an intricate network of friends who warn me as soon as a text in which the word cheese appears can be passed on to me," he says. Philippe Olivier's contacts include the names of professionals who, after a person's death, resell works that have fallen into disuse, often stored for many years in thatched cottages or attics.

Anecdotes galore

And that's not all. In search of authors, the author criss-crosses France, visiting gastronomic libraries in Paris and other provincial towns, and writing to cheese towns and tourist offices about places named after cheeses. "In fact,if I buy a book on gaperon, it's rare that a song doesn't hang around. I make a big deal out of it. he laughs, recalling all his adventures. He's learned a lot of stories.For example, at the end of wedding dinners, the innkeeper would swap his apron for his musical instrument and like to make fun of the priest, the mayor and the cheesemakers with a ditty," he recounts. When the nice worker ate her lunch, it was a piece of Gruyère that took the place of a roast.

He continues:"I learned where the word frometon came from. This name was given to an old neufchâtel. When the locals wanted a mature cheese, they called it neufchâtel. On theother hand, when they wanted an even more mature neufchâtel, they called it frometon."

Call for entries

These stories shed light on the history of cheese. "I've gained a better understanding of the things I defend, like fake formats or certain cheeses by the slice, because a cheese isn't just a technical data sheet, nor is it a medical product."

After so many years of investigation, Philippe Olivier has managed to set aside almost ninety musical texts. " I'd like to appeal to anyone who might have an old song or text in a corner of their creamery or at home to complete this collection."

Here are a few previews...

Charles Forot's poem about Picodon cheese

A scent of goat,
That you can guess,
Exalts your lips.
Tickles your nose:
Unctuous paste
Ripened in pots
In dark repose
Where fingers feel them,
What a concert of gifts
To those who taste them:
There's none like them,
Powerful and creamy,
To sing so true.

Text by Paul Heautard from 1946

"I've lived like this for years, a four-penny sweet, bread, a glass of coffee for lunch as well as for my dinner, and I haven't died."

Text by Jan Bachot

"The necessary and not superfluous pleasure of loving nothing so much as a lovable cheese."
"I like cheese without dinner better than dinner without cheese."

Text by James de Loquet

"Like a brie made from the heart, amateur de fromage is also the product of a long and delicate maturing process."

Children's songs
"AH, madame, here's some good cheese! Voila du fromage au lait, il est du pays, De celui qui l'a fait."

Discover another article

National Cheese Day

"A country that can give the world three hundred cheeses cannot die", said Winston Churchill during the Second World War. To which Charles de Gaule retorted: "You can't govern a...

Let's make a cheese

That morning, we set sail for Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais). Not to talk cod, shrimp or smoked herring, as this northern, maritime destination might suggest. No, we came to talk about fourme d'Ambert, Ossau-Iraty,...