can find delicious cheeses all over the world however, for many, when cheese is
mentioned we think of France with its more than 240 varieties. There are many
more variations on these cheeses making France one of the most (if not the
most) prolific producers of this dairy delight.
cheeses are classified under four categories: Farmer (made on the farm), Craft
(also made on the farm but not necessarily with milk from the farm),
Cooperative (several farmers joining together to make cheese) and Industrial
(factory made cheese from locally sourced milk). All cheeses are grouped into
four general “families,” pressed, soft, blue and others such as goat cheese,
all of which are made from three different types of milk; cow, goat and sheep.
Pictured above (left to right): Roquefort, Tomme de Savoie, Crottin de Chavignol, Brie de Meaux aux truffes
is the soil and climate (much like wine and its terroir) of the various regions
of France that give its cheeses a distinctive taste as well as define their
appellation. Cheeses such as Brie de Meaux (from the Isle de France), Bleu
Auvergne (from Auvergne), Tomme de Savoie (from Savoie) and Roquefort (from the
Pyrenees) are all limited in production to the area from which they come.
of the most popular and well-known French cheeses include the four mentioned
above as well as Camembert, St Nectaire, Morbier, Mont d’Or, Beaufort, Crottin
de Chavignol and Emmental. Of course there are many, many more delicious
cheeses to savor and explore.
Serving a variety of cheeses is recommended.
The ideal cheese platter offers a hard, soft, blue, and fresh cheese, such as
goat cheese. When serving cheese before dinner savory accompaniments such as
olives, prosciutto, nuts and chutney are lovely pairings. After-dinner cheeses
are best paired with sweet accompaniments such as jams, honey, fruits and
toasted nuts. The bread is, of course, the most important accompaniment of all but
don’t be afraid to think beyond the classic baguette – breads with olives or
dried fruit can pair beautifully with cheese.
In France, cheese is often served at the end of a meal either in place of dessert or before dessert but you can enjoy bread and cheese with a bottle of wine anywhere and anytime. It makes the perfect picnic and truly sets the mood for a trip to France…wherever you may be.
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