Mimolette is a cheese traditionally produced around the city of Lille, France. In France it is also known as Boule de Lille after its city of origin,[1] or vieux Hollande because it was originally inspired by the Dutch Edam cheese.[2]

Country of originFrance
Region, townNord, Lille
Source of milkCows
Aging time2 months – 2 years
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Mimolette has a spherical shape and is similar in appearance to a cantaloupe melon.[3] It normally weighs about 2 kg (approximately 4.5 pounds) and is made from cow's milk. Its name comes from the French word mi-mou (feminine mi-molle), meaning "semi-soft", which refers to the oily texture of this otherwise hard cheese.[4] The bright orange color of the cheese comes from the natural seasoning, annatto.[5] When used in small amounts, primarily as a food colorant, annatto adds no discernible flavor[6] or aroma. The grey-colored rind of aged Mimolette occurs from cheese mites that are added to the surface of the cheese, which serve to enhance its flavor.[3]

Mimolette can be consumed at different stages of aging. When younger, its taste resembles that of Parmesan.[4] Many appreciate it most when it is "extra-old" (extra-vieille).[7] At that point, it can become rather hard to chew, and the flesh takes on a hazelnut-like flavor.


It was originally made by the request of Louis XIV, who – in the context of Jean-Baptiste Colbert's mercantilistic policies – was looking for a native French product to replace the then very popular Edam.[2] To make it distinct from Edam, it was first colored using carrot juice, and later seasoned with annatto to give it a distinct orange color.[2]

The cheese was known to be a favorite of French President Charles de Gaulle.[8]

Health concerns in the U.S.

In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration detained about a ton of the cheese, putting further imports to the United States on hold. This was because the cheese mites could cause an allergic reaction[3] if consumed in large quantities. The FDA stated that the cheese was above the standard of six mites per cubic inch.[9]

See also


  1. "Mimolette (ou Boule de Lille)". Le Guide du Fromage (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. Michelson, P. (2010). Cheese: Exploring Taste and Tradition. Gibbs Smith. p. pt29. ISBN 978-1-4236-0651-2. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  3. Dhooria, M.S. (2016). Fundamentals of Applied Acarology. Springer Singapore. p. 455. ISBN 978-981-10-1594-6. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  4. "Mimolette". The Gourmet Cheese of the Month Club. Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  5. Karlin, M.; Anderson, E.; Reinhart, P. (2011). Artisan Cheese Making at Home: Techniques & Recipes for Mastering World-Class Cheeses [A Cookbook]. Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-60774-044-5. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  6. Lynch, B.; Smart, J.; Jones, D. (2019). Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition. HMH Books. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-547-41736-3. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  7. "Mimolette Cheese, It's Illegal, Not Immoral, And It Might Make You Fat". Tried & Supplied. 2014-02-12. Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  8. Donnelly, C.; Kehler, M. (2016). The Oxford Companion to Cheese. Oxford Companions. Oxford University Press. p. 483. ISBN 978-0-19-933090-4. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  9. "Mimolette imports on hold". SFGate. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
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