Let the floodgates fly open and the fromage flow freely!
Yes, China’s recent, highly contentious ban on several soft cheeses and blue cheeses has been lifted. Cheese Republic, a popular importer and seller of the flavorful golden dairy product on the mainland, announced on its WeChat account on Friday, Oct 20 that it was given the clear to sell soft and blue cheese once again, before thanking “the Chinese authorities and especially to the CIQ [the Inspection and Quarantine Bureau]of Shanghai! I would also like to congratulate the French Embassy in China, as well as Great Britain’s for their success!”
The post went on to say that all such cheeses should be fully available on the Mainland in five to six weeks, before adding that they already have some in stock, such as like Saint Nectaire and Roquefort.
We first heard about the ban back in September, when official documents were leaked and widely reported on in the media. A foreign chef in Beijing went on to gripe about the ban with us, saying “China has no guidelines for those cheeses and their bacteria, so they have decided to just eliminate the cheeses until guidelines are established, and that can be god knows when.”
Now that the ban has been lifted, much of Beijing’s restaurant industry, along with foodies, are already in a celebratory mood. Antoine Mansuy, owner of popular Yizhuang restaurant The Roots, told tbj, “Damn right that’s good to hear.”
When asked, Mansuy said with a laugh: “I’m French!” before elaborating more seriously: “And we had to drop some menu items because of uncertainties. Plus, really, cheese is healthy. Banning it on grounds of bacterial content is just stupid. It’s all good bacteria, it’s why Europeans grow so tall and handsome!”
So those of you with dwindling stockpiles and fiendish craving can now rest easy and relish in the pungent aroma and cushy textures of your favorite, no longer contraband cheeses.