They say that cheese was invented by accident. Legend tells that a careless shepherd’s milk curdled, and in order to fix it he decided to add a bit of salt to the paste and mixed it thus creating the first cheese.
A GOURMENT TOUR WITH FRENCH CHEESE
Those of us who have traveled to France know that cheese is a key ingredient in their cuisine. It is so valued there that the former French president Charles de Gaulle stated, “How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?” although nowadays we know there are over 1,000 varieties! What is more surprising for foodies like us is not only the assortment but also the quality of each of those versions –many of them are registered under the Designation of Origin certificate.
Today we propose a gourmet tour around Gaul that will make you fall in love with the extraordinary flavors and textures of French fromages.
- Whichever cheese you choose remember that it must be served at room temperature and that it must be aired for a few hours before it’s served so that its aroma and taste are perfect.
- If you want to try an assortment of cheeses, check that they’re served on wooden, ceramic or glass platters, because metal ones alter their flavor.
- If you order a cheese platter remember that they are served clockwise starting with those with the mildest taste.
TYPES OF FRENCH CHEESE
- Fresh cheeses: They’re made with curdled milk and have a white and thick texture. They’re perfect for salty, peppery and even sugary dishes.
- Goat cheeses: They have a fresh and smooth texture, and they’re ideally spiced up with aromatic herbs or spices like pepper, or wrapped in fruit or vegetable tree leaves.
- Soft-ripened and blue cheeses: At first sight you’ll identify them thanks to their velvety crust of mold or purple smears. These appear because they’re cured in a solution with mold-bearing agents. After they’re removed from their mold they’re left in aired cellars that favor ventilation, a necessary agent for mold growth.
- Semi-hard or hard cheeses: They’re elaborated with heated curded milk. Then they’re stirred and pressed to remove any serum. They’re known for their large forms and aging time.
- Marble cheeses: They’re produced by combining two varieties of cheese through a process that involves grating or grounding, melting and sometimes putting them together with butter.
THE BEST CHEESE IN FRANCE
Before you rush to a cheese buffet, here are our top 3 French cheese varieties. Try them on your next trip!
- Camembert: This cheese is elaborated in the five departments that make up the region of Normandy. Even though it has a slightly high fat content (45%), its taste is exquisite and creamy. You’ll love it if your order it bathed in honey and sprinkled with dried fruits and nuts.
- Cantal: It’s an ideal product to buy year-round because one of its characteristics is that its taste changes throughout the seasons depending on its aging time.
- Morbier Fermier: It’s known for the black stripe that cuts across it and that was originally produced by the soot that was used to prevent it from being consumed by insects. Yet, this stripe is still its seal of quality. It’s one of the tastiest varieties of cheese you can order if you want to try a raclette.