Six French Cheeses

September 16, 2008

The Lady was explaining to The Man how the cheese kiosk is laid out and I thought I might use her “blueprint” as the basis for my next set of reviews. Today, I’d like to talk about French cheeses.

In a previous life, I lived in the Mountain Quadrant of Europa where many cheeses were created and have become famous earthwide. I heard The Lady mention there are more than 25,000 cheeses that originate in France; from the softest and yummiest of triple-crèmes to semi-hard cheeses and every kind in between. I plan to discuss triple-crèmes and Bries in separate listings.

Chaumes

Vegetarian – Suitable Cheese

 

Chaumes

Chaumes

 

Based upon traditional Trappist-style cheeses, Chaumes is a popular cheese with children. It is a semi-soft cheese with a mild flavor. It is creamy and has a somewhat rubbery texture. It has a bright tangerine-orange rind that appears after several washes of the crust. It is also brushed with ferments, which adds to its light, pleasant aroma.

The Lady says that everytime they “sample” Chaumes at the kiosk, they sell at least two wheels. Holy catnip, that’s a lot of this yummy, creamy cheese.

It is matured for four weeks.

I give Chaumes 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: The Lady serves it with rice crackers but I much prefer to eat mine with a charcuterie that includes smoked passerines. I also find that taurine-rich spiders make a nice garnish for any cheese platter. Chaumes is also good for grilling.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Mellow dry to sweet white wine such as: Jurancon, Rosette or Haut-Montravel. Or Dry red such as: Marmandais, Frontonnais, Bergerac,Tursan., or Valpolicella, or even a strong dry cider

Beer Pairings: Boris, Full Moon, Guinness,

Source: Cow’s Milk

Morbier

 

Copyright 2009 interfrance.com

Copyright 2009 interfrance.com

 

Morbier is an aromatic and mild cheese with the dark vein of vegetable ash streaking through its middle of ivory-colored pate. The streak is homage to how it was produced in Franche-Comté when it was actually two layers of cheese. The bottom layer was the morning milk and the top layer was the evening milking. Aged at least 60 days, Morbier has a nutty aftertaste. This is an AOC-protected cheese.

I give it 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Serve with a mild bead, crackers nuts and grapes.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Burgundy, Red Beaujolais, Sancerre

Beer Pairings: Velvet Fog

Source: Cow’s milk

Raclette

Vegetarian – Suitable Cheese

 

Copyright 2009 raclette.us

Copyright 2009 raclette.us

 

Raclette, known as the melting cheese, is a semi-firm, salted cheese. Varieties exist made with white wine, pepper, herbs, or smoked. The cheese originated in the Swiss canton of Valais, but is today also produced in the French regions of Savoie and Franche-Comté. In Europe there are grills manufactured especially to melt the cheese and grill vegetables, charcuterie and sometimes seafood. Diners create their own little “packages” of food, top them with the raclette and place them in the grill to melt and brown the cheese. Think of this as a fondue meets a Korean BBQ. Sometimes, they simply put the cheese on bread and grill that in the machine. Restaurants in Europe offer “raclette evenings” for dining parties. You can buy a raclette machine at Sur La Table for around $75.00.

I give Raclette 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: It is perfect melted on slabs of bread.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc

Beer Pairings: Belgium Blonde Beers

Source: Cow’s Milk

Cantalet

Vegetarian – Suitable Cheese

 

Cantalet

Cantalet

 

Cantalet is an ancestor of the traditional British Farmhouse Cheeses. It is a wonderful, semi-hard cheese from the central mountainous region of Auvergne, Cantalet is a cheddar-like cheese cured with salt, which brings out its full flavor. Heavy and moist, young Cantalet has a sweet, milk flavor; well-aged, it has a sharper flavor. This cheese is also protected by the AOC.

I give Cantalet 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Because it is a cheddar-style cheese, it melts well in sandwiches. You can also crumble it into salads or serve it sliced with pears, apples and grapes.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer

Beer Pairings:

Source: Cow’s Milk

Comte

Vegetarian – Suitable Cheese

 

Comte

Comte

 

Comté is another AOC-protected cheese (The French take their cheeses very seriously and this distinction is kind of like a copyright for cheeses). Italy, Spain and England are also into protecting their cheeses; both in name and how they are made. The consumer can rest assured that an AOC-protected cheese will taste the same regardless of what decade, or even century it is made.

One of the most popular cheeses in France, Comté is produced in the rich mountain pastures of the Jura. Its firm and supple pâte, with tiny holes, has a nutty, slightly salty yet sweet taste. Small, cooperative dairies known as fruitières produce Comté year-round. As this cheese ages, the taste of hazelnut and nutmeg makes its way into this cheese.

I love this cheese and anytime The Lady brings it home; I fight The Man two falls out of three for the last morsel.

I give Comte 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: This cheese is great alone, served with grapes and also melts well and is excellent in potato or other veggie gratins. It is also a perfect cheese to top French Onion Soup.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Dry whites or Light Reds

Beer Pairings: Anchor Porter, Rogue Shakespeare Stout, Brown Ales

Source: Raw Cow’s Milk

Fol Epi

Vegetarian – Suitable Cheese

 

Fol Epi

Fol Epi

 

Fol Epi’s rind is made from toasted wheat flour. This pressed, uncooked French gourmet cheese is produced in Pays de Loire, an area long known for its dairy produce. In French, Fol Epi means ‘wild wheat stalk’, a fitting name for this unique loaf with perfect eye formation.

Fol Epi is matured for three months and has a pleasant, nutty and fruity taste. Although similar in taste to a Swiss Emmental, Fol Epi is sweeter and less bitter, making it ideal for a sensitive palate. Fol Epi is very protein-rich; a perfect choice for the health-conscious gourmet cheese lover.

In order to comply with US FDA regulation for export to the USA the maturation of this cheese has been extended to over 60 days.

I give Fol Epi 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: This cheese goes well with Crackers and Bread, Fruits and melted like other Swiss-style cheeses. Because it is a bit on the mild side, I prefer pairing it will with jerked Sus scrofa scrofa.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: White Burgundy, Chenin Blanc

Beer Pairings: Wheat Beers

Source: Raw Cow’s Milk

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7 Responses to “Six French Cheeses”


  1. Great information; very useful. I like that you include beer pairings too, as this is largely overlooked.
    Thanks
    http://culinarydelights.wordpress.com


  2. […] Chaumes, with which he shares more than a few similarities, it has a distinct tangerine rind. Its texture […]


  3. […] next cheese choice is Chaumes, a semi-soft cheese from France. Mike, what beer would you chose to pair with […]


  4. […] favorites), a wonderful Camembert; Le Cornilly, a goat cheese from the Loire region of France; Comte, one of the GREAT French cheeses and Bleu de Basque, a Sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque […]


  5. […] to those from the alpine regions of France and Switzerland. It might be compared to Gruyere and Comte, always favorites around the […]


  6. […] is also made from raw Jersey cow milk. It is an Alpine-style cheese in the tradition of Gruyere and Comte. It has the same buttery texture of Pawlet but the taste is sharp and more complex. It is aged at […]


  7. […] the P’tit Basque, a French Cheddar – Cantalet – was tasted… I know, the French claim they don’t make Cheddars but this cheese is actually […]


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