Lionel Giraud, A Charming Frenchman, and His French Cheese Plate

March 29, 2010

At the same Seminar I mentioned in the reviews of the Rogue Creamery non-blues, The Lady met a most charming Frenchman, Lionel Giraud, who at the time was a sales rep for the French Cheese Company, FROMI. He has since left that company and has disappeared off The Lady’s cheese radar. She asked that I send a shout-out to him: : “Lio, if you read this, please send The Lady an email and let her know where you are and what you’re doing. Amy misses you as well.”

Lionel presented three wonderful cheeses as he waxed poetic about Terroir and how it contributes to the finished quality of cheese.

(Feline Foodie note: as these are The Lady’s notes from the seminar, there will be no Paw ratings. Had she brought these fine cheeses home, I would add my own thoughts…  The Lady can be quite selfish at times; when it comes to cheese… you’d think she was the brains behind this operation. Suffice it to say, she will pay for this slighting… but I digress…)

The first cheese he presented was Langres AOP (1991), a brilliant orange, washed-rind cheese that resembles brain membrane, in the most positive manner, of course.  The Lady found the aroma to be pungent, a common quality with most washed-rind cheeses; the texture creamy and the taste mild and a bit sour with a nice, extending finish. The Lady was quick to point out that it was not as pungent as my own personal French favorite, Epoisses, but found similarities between these two cheeses, which are both from the Champagne region of France. This cheese comes in a cylindrical shape and weighs about 8 ounces. It is usually aged about 5 weeks and the optimum time to enjoy this cheese is between May and August although it remains quite good through December. The version imported is made with pasteurized milk while the French are able to enjoy this cheese in a raw milk version.

Serving Suggestions: Spread on a French Baguette.

Wine Pairing: It’s from the Champagne region; go with the bubbly.

On Lio’s tasting plate, the second cheese was a pure sheep’s milk double cream from the Burgundy region, Brebirousse d’Argental. This cheese has a white bloomy rind with red edging. As it ripens, the perimeter sinks ever-so-slightly.  The Lady tasted meadow and maybe hay but was pleased that it lacked the sometimes lanolin-taste of sheep cheese; something she refers to as “sheepy”.  The texture was creamy and almost like rich, thick velvet.  The Lady thought this cheese had some similarities to Taleggio in both appearance and texture; but not as stinky and made from a different milk (Taleggio is made from cow’s milk.).

Serving Suggestions: The Lady mentioned that she could see serving this cheese with melon and prosciutto or ripened, juicy pears.

Wine Pairing: Staying with the terroir theme, The Lady recommends a White Burgundy.

The third cheese presented was Affine au Chablis, a Chablis-washed rind cheese also from the Burgundy region of France. The Lady also compared this cheese to Epoisses although she did say that the Chablis wash made it sweeter and not as pungent. The rind is somewhere between yellow and orange and again begins to resemble a brain as it matures. At full maturation, you might need a spoon to eat this cheese which softens with time but remains creamy and its Chablis taste becomes more pronounced. It is sold in a little wooden box, like Epoisses, and weighs about 7 ounces. It is a bit less expensive than Epoisses, although it certainly is not an everyday cheese, wallet-wise.

Serving Suggestion: Don’t mess with this cheese; just spread it on a Baguette and enjoy.

Wine Pairing: How about Chablis?


4 Responses to “Lionel Giraud, A Charming Frenchman, and His French Cheese Plate”

  1. Amy Pitzer-Wattam Says:

    Oui Lio!! Ou es-tu, mon frere du fromage? Tu es si mechant. Tu me monque. Je pense que tu es en Argentine avec une nouvelle fille tres charmante? Beaucoupe des filles charmantes?

    I am still telling the story of how you told me that setting the perfect cheese case was like building the Nativity scene at Christmas.

    Write soon, unless your love interest(s) forbid you speaking to a couple of “older” American ladies.


  2. Stacey Says:

    Oh, we all have stories of Lionel. Like the time last year he had everyone in my store singing “Hey Jude” while sampling phenomenal French cheeses. And, what happened at the beach party later on will never pass my lips. Jérémy has taken his place but I don’t think he can entertain like Lio. Cheers!

    • cheesemonger Says:

      The Lady misses Lio. Stacy, thanks for adding stories… come on, cheeseheads, share your stories about Lio…

  3. Lionel Giraud Says:

    Mes Cheries, wahhh, impressing, I have just fallen into your blog, thank you so much… I love you too!
    I have to tell you, just like Jaaames Brown used to sing… that I am back for real!

    I am living only 4 hours from you, visit me anytime… in Mexico, where I work for the number one Mexican finest cheeses importer… Mexideli ladys and gentemen, with my Tcheese Guevara dream of helping the Ranchos to sell more, because believe me, in spite of the drug violence in the North, Mexican people are the most loving people I have ever met, we laugh always, we try to change the world little by little…

    Thank you for your friendship, leaving Fromi was not easy after 13 years, yes indeed, but Fromi will keep on giving you a good support with Jeremy, he can sing “Let it Brie’ and our ACS 2009 Cheese and Pop Friends Mickael tribute “Cheese the world, make a better plate, for you and for me, and all the gourmet race” quite good as well, we are all coming from the West Side from France, and we are happy people:-)…

    I will send you fresh dairy news from my new Country, and the good news is that I will run soon Mexideli USA, and I will try hard to surprise you, my GG’s and GWG’s, Gentlemen and Gentlewomen Gourmet always, because the story about Raw milk Cheeses in the USA has just started, because Cheese means real economy, because Cheese means green economy and because Cheese means beeing with you around a good table, talking about life and milky way, carpe diem, and good pairs, maybe smoking a good Cuban Cigar if you allow me to, now that I have access to them from my Cancun friends:-)…

    Soon soon soon again, at the Fancy Food Show New York, in one little month…

    I really love you and our friendship will keep on beating hard like your hearts folks, we learn from each other, and the story have just started…

    Stacey, I really miss your beach party, ohhhh my god!!! Please keep this file secret, :-), maybe we should find ourself another one, because guess what, I remember almost everything, like… the beer was excellent by the way:-)…

    Never forget that above all, “on vit une epoque formidable’, life is beautifull, and the better is coming tomorrow… always!

    That’s the power of Cheese!

    Your friend, faithfully,

    Leo Tcheese Guevara
    Food Revolution in the US little by little

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