A Cheesy Visit

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, the NBB class and I visited a Fromagerie in Paris, France for an authentic cheese tasting. Walking into the Fromagerie, I immediately smelled the peculiar aroma associated with cheese. As an individual new to the delicacies of France, I made sure to carefully pay attention as I walked into the quaint display room of the Fromagerie to get a closer look. I then tasted with my eyes glaring at the various cheeses on display, realizing that I had no relevant knowledge of the science of the cheese-making process and wanted to learn more.

At the tasting, the class met an extremely enthusiastic cheese connoisseur named Ashley. To our surprise, Ashley was originally from the United States and journeyed to France to pursue her dreams. Her pursuit of her dreams drew me to thinking about my dream to pursue a career in neuroscience during the tasting. As a result of the experience, I began to feel more confident to apply my neuroscience knowledge to the cheese tasting in order to make sure that I made the most of my NBB in Paris experience. Before coming to Paris, I knew I wanted to integrate every experience into a bigger picture.

During the tasting, the class and I made sure to ask Ashley many questions about cheese and the fermentation process in general. We also made sure to inform Ashely about the article we were reading. To our surprise again, Ashley earned a Biology degree at UNC. She began to tell us about the science of the fungi used. I tied this information into the review article I read for class about how fermented food increases brain health and function (Kim et al, 2016, p. 298). As I helped explain the topic to Ashley, I realized that I was actually very confident in my NBB knowledge and that I was able to attribute the fermentation knowledge I learned to neuroscience in a cohesive manner.

For example, I could cite how specific fungi contribute to brain health because of certain substances produced during fermentation such as DHE (dehyrdoergosterol), that reduces microglial inflammation (Ano et. al). We also told Ashley about specific cheeses that contribute to the prevention of the onset of dementia, such as Camembert, which I actually got to taste with a special paired juice! I am excited to integrate my knowledge of neuroscience during my time in France, continuously evaluating how every rich experience is rooted in science.


This is a picture of the Camembert cheese the class tasted. It pairs nicely with apple juice… and even improves brain health because of the fungi P. Candidum.
This is a picture of me holding a giant block of cheese! The class learned about hard cheeses vs. soft cheeses. This is an example of Swiss cheese, which is in the hard cheese category.

Ano, Y., Kutsukake, T., Hoshi, A., Yoshida, A., & Nakayama, H. (2015). Identification of a          Novel Dehydroergosterol Enhancing Microglial Anti-Inflammatory Activity in a Dairy            Product Fermented with Penicillium candidum . PLoS ONE10(3), e0116598.             http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0116598


Kim, B., Hong, V. M., Yang, J., Hyun, H., Im, J. J., Hwang, J., … Kim, J. E. (2016). A Review   of Fermented Foods with Beneficial Effects on Brain and Cognitive Function. Preventive       Nutrition and Food Science21(4), 297–309. http://doi.org/10.3746/pnf.2016.21.4.297


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