Food by VICE

Prince Charles Is Fighting for France's Stinky Cheese

Charles, Prince of Wales, and heir to the British throne, was in Paris earlier this week to accept the Francois Rabelais prize, given to him by l’Institut de France for his contribution to Europe’s culinary culture and commitment to protecting the...

by Nick Rose
Dec 4 2015, 12:00am

Britain has a strange relationship with cheese.

On the one hand, they have one of the most vibrant cheese cultures in the world and are currently undergoing a raw milk revolution.

READ: Brits Are Living in a Cheese Paradise and They Don't Even Know It

On the other, it would seem that the vast majority of Brits appear to be clueless about the insane variety of cheese produced within its borders and can only name four British cheeses, the most popular of which, Cheddar, is steadily declining in popularity.

But in uncertain times like these, Europe can always look to its unelected leaders to remind them that if they stop making and eating stinky cheese, the bad guys win.

Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, was in Paris earlier this week to accept the Francois Rabelais prize, given to him by l'Institut de France for his contribution to Europe's culinary culture and commitment to protecting the environment.

The Prince of Wales opened his speech by saying that he stood in solidarity with the French in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and by insisting that the best way to deal with such horror is to be reminded of the achievements of a culinary culture as rich as France's.

"In the face of such awfulness, it may help to be reminded of the simple and timeless human values that lie at the heart of our society," Charles said in a video uploaded by the British Monarchy's YouTube channel, adding that, "The distinctiveness of local cuisine is one of the most important ways we identify with the places and regions we love."

But the British monarch, who was also in town for the Paris Climate Change Conference, warned that even these most basic units of France's cuisinewine and cheeseare under threat from climate change and overzealous safety regulators.

The prize is named after François Rabelais, a Franciscan monk, Greek scholar, songwriter, physician, and writer of dirty jokes during the Renaissance, which made him a Renaissance Man in the true sense of the word.

And, as Prince Charles pointed out, Rabelais was also infamous for his writings about "gastronomic and well-lubricated banquets," as well as his penchant for "andouille, the Williams pear, the diverse fish of the Loire, and, of course, the immortal wines of Chinon, Saumur and St-Nicolas de Bourgueil, all 100-percent organic, naturally."

He also recalled a trip to Paris in 1992 where he first brought up the environmental and genetic threats to cheese production and "even orchestrated a vigorous defense of cheese against predatory health and safety regulators."

Two decades later, the British Monarch said he had been vindicated by the rise of sterile, mass-produced, genetically modified food.

"What will become of the Brie de Meaux, the Crottin de Chavignol or the Bleu d'Auvergne?" the 67-year-old heir to the throne asked, looking alarmed. "In a microbe-free, progressive, and genetically engineered future, what hope is there for the old-fashioned Fourme d'Ambert, the mal-formed Gruyere de Comte, or the odorous Pont L'Eveque?"

Tough questions indeed. Charles concluded his acceptance speech with a plea for the protection of "real food without which all life would become intolerable."

The Prince clearly knows a thing or two about wine, cheese, and Renaissance literature and has strong opinions about all of these things.

In other words, it seems like Prince Charles would make the perfect dinner party guest.

Prince Charles
paris climate change conference