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Guide to French Cheese

Paris, France

Food Guide

When it comes to cheese, we can say France and Italy are the most creative cheese producers. In France, we can find more than 1000 different types of cheese if we consider the 350-400 cheese types and the varieties of each type. The French are all about cheeses. Crumbly cheeses, hard cheeses, moldy and grayish or soft and squishy, and yes: even properly “stinky” types! Here's a list of the most traditional ones:

Camembert

Camembert is arguably the quintessential French cheese, with an earthy flavor a bit stronger than Brie. The next time you’re in a French grocery, you may spot les petites vieilles (little old women) removing Camembert from its round wooden box in the refrigerated dairy section, then sniffing, prodding and thoroughly inspecting it before placing it into their basket or returning it to the shelf. This versatile cheese can be eaten various ways...all of which result to a hearty gastronomic fare.

Brie

Brie de Meaux: produced in Brie, near Paris, it has a milk and creamy taste with sweet, butterly mushrooms or truffles and almond flavors. A modern legend identifies as Brie de Meaux a specific cheese, "rich and creamy", with an edible white rind that in the eighth century Frankish Emperor Charlemagne first tasted in the company of a bishop and approved, requiring two cartloads to be sent to him annually. This cheese was named the "king of cheeses" in 1815 by Talleyrand at the Congress of Vienna.

Beaufort

Beaufort (AOC) firm Alpine cheese. Beaufort is pale yellow, smooth and creamy texture and a distinct flavor. The cheese is prepared using 11 liters (2.9 U.S. gal) of milk for every 1 kg (2.2 lb) of cheese desired. The milk used in one variety comes from the Tarine or Abondance cows that graze in the Alps. Beaufort also has a very distinct aroma, sometimes described as strong or mildly pungent and reminiscent of the pastures on which the Tarentaise and Abondance cows graze to provide the milk used for the cheese. Beaufort is commonly used to make cheese fondue because it melts easily. One of the many kinds of cheese that go well with white wine, Beaufort is often enjoyed with fish, especially salmon.

Roquefort

Roquefort, called "the cheese of kings and popes" in France, Roquefort is moist, rich, creamy, salty and tangy. It is mostly used in salads and dressings. Roquefort, known as the King of the Blues, is a Midi Pyrénées sheep’s cheese with blue mould veins. You have most likely heard of this before, because how can you not? This cheese is moist and crumbles into little pieces easily. It presents the palate a rich, creamy and sharp, tangy, salty flavor. It is also mostly used in hearty salads and dressings.

Comté

Comté is hard mountain cheese, one of the most popular cheeses in France and considered one of the finest cheeses in the world with a pale yellow color and silky, flabby or crystalline texture. More than 80 flavors are available, but the basic one is brown butter with roasted nuts and a sweet finish. Made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, this delightful cheese is an all-around versatile star and could be served cubed, on a sandwich, melted in a fondue, folded with eggs, or grated and sprinkled on dishes. It has a fruity yet smoky and salty yet sweet flavor that is sure to please.

Cheese can be classified as per its place of origin, type of milk used, or fat content. Whether it's hard or soft, prepared from cow, goat or sheep, fresh or aged, different types of French cheese are found in different regions of France. Cheese in France is mainly made by small independents or co-operatives that adopt their own unique style that makes these cheese different from each other. Now you just have to choose your favorite!!!

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