Essex St. Cheese Co.

May 18, 2011, 7:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


A regular report on geek cheese interests and the learnings by traveling cheesemonger Daphne Zepos.

The Fox and The Crow
Same Fable, Different Cheese

The Fox and the Crow is an ancient story of a crow sitting on a branch with a nice piece of cheese in his beak. A clever fox flatters the crow into song and makes him drop the cheese. This well known fable was first told by Aesop in ancient Greece and again by La Fontaine in 17th century France

In Aesop’s version, I like to think of the crow holding a dry, crumbly piece of shepherd cheese in his mouth. Something like a Kefalotyri from Crete, grayish white and very goaty. The fox is starving, and the muscular, barnyardy aromas wafting down from the tree make him salivate. He is a fast, urgent thinker.  First he devours the dropped cheese, then he sermonizes the crow.

Bernard Salomon, Aesop Cycle, 1547

La Fontaine’s crow, on the other hand, has a whole Muenster cheese delicately held in his beak. Soft and stinky, the aroma that reaches the fox is infinitely more corporeal and rich. La Fontaine’s fox is more of a gourmand. He takes the time to think of his ruse. He hones the flattering words, and prances away with the prized Munster, his bushy tail held high.

Francois Chauveau, le Corbeau et le Renard, 1668

The tale is fun for kids. If it’s helpful to sell more cheese, all the better. It strikes me as great to use at Halloween in our cheese shops. Feel free to take the idea and run with it. Here are some additional links.

Here is a translation of Aesop.

Aesop’s fable, animated.

Here is a translation of la Fontaine.

Soprano Veronique Gens sings Offenbach’s lied of  La Fontaine’s fable


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