There are so many excellent French cheeses; it's estimated that France produces approximately 200 different types of cheeses! Cheese is one of the staples of French food culture alongside bread, pastries, and wine. Whether you have a light cheese spread on your morning bread, a hard cheese in your baguette at lunch, or a potent after-dinner cheese following a delectable French dinner, cheese is a central element of the French diet. In fact, so central is cheese to French food that it often has it's own course at a meal.
Types of Cheese
Breaking the cheeses down into the categories 'soft' and 'hard' is a good way to get oriented. Generally speaking, soft cheeses are for real cheese lovers; if your taste for cheese doesn't go far beyond sliced American cheese, skip down to the section on hard cheeses. For the cheese lover, or for the food adventurer, trying some of these soft French cheeses can be a good way to become absolutely addicted to the finer tastes of France.
Common custom is to take some of each cheese from the cheese platter and put it on your own plate as it is passed around the table; you will not see the French reaching into the center of the table to cut each piece of cheese. Serve yourself as the platter goes around the table, and after everyone has been served, give it a taste! If you like it, ask for the platter to be passed again. The French will be delighted that foreigners like their cheeses so much!
CLICK THE LINK below to watch a short video on French cheese.
Related Topics American and French Cultural Differences French Food
9 Great French Cheeses for Your Palate
Nothing says joie de vivre français like an oozing triple crème. The French enjoy a lot of cheese. And more importantly, they are deeply connected to and proud of their cheese. As well they should be! They have a rich and storied cheese history, a deep-rooted culture of cheese, and more than a thousand cheeses in their lexicon.
France takes its cheese so seriously, they have a whole system of Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC). This means "controlled designation of origin," and serves to protect the authenticity of cheese. For example, for a cheese to be awarded the AOC-protected name "Cantal," it must come from the Cantal mountains in Auvergne from the winter milk of Salers cows, made according to specific methodology, and aged a minimum of one month.
Only a small percentage of those cheeses get imported to the U.S., and most of them are made specifically for the American market. You guessed right: those cheeses tend to be less complex, factory-made, and tragically disappointing.
But don't despair—the French cheese lover in The States still has many glorious options. These are my favorite nine, although I have real love for other greats that didn't make this list: Epoisses! Alsatian munster! Abondance! Morbier! Bleu d'Auvergne! But hey, gotta leave something for next time.
Thanks Hannah for the info. Full disclosure: I work at Fairway market in NYC, where these gorgeous cheeses were shot.
9 Awesome French Cheeses
Can you find any near you? Let me know of the best cheese shoppe.
Watch a video on French Cheese Classes Click the link below