Here cheese is taken very seriously, many a meal is passed discussing the merits of one particular variety or another, and what elaborate process the producer had to go through to get this particular cheese to the table.
There is good reason for the reputation of French cheese. While many cheeses in the world have become over bland with the introduction of more mechanical techniques of production, the finer French cheese have avoided this to some degree, in part by introducing the AOC (protected name and methods) for cheeses, much as they have for wines.
Almost every market will almost always have a cheese stall or two, offering a bewildering array of local and exotic cheese, each in their way magnificent. All I can suggest is that you is visit us and try some, because the best cheeses really are the locally produced, locally sold, varieties. But enough snobbery.
Making up your cheese board is not so easy because you need to find a balance.
Ideally, you need to have all the main sorts of different "cheeses" (we are proud to say
that we have a different cheese for each day of the year).
Cheese is usually presented on a wooden board with special service settings accompanied by a good bottle of Burgundy or Bordeaux red wine ; cheese and red wine are famous for highly valuing each others' flavour.
THE CLASSIC CHEESE BOARD:
- Camembert is our national cheese, if there is one… It is simply made of cow milk, and tastes far better when creamy, so let it outside of the fridge for a few hours before serving so that you make it softer.
- Brie cheese could be commented the same way.
- Goat's milk cheese : this is excellent and will be the allied of most good red wines because it brings out their flavor. Goat's milk cheese can be very dry, fresh or creamy ; prefer a medium dry one.
- Ewe's milk cheese : Roquefort is our most famous, but we have many others in France which can be hard or soft cheese. The flavour is very authentic but sometimes too powerful for "non-initiated" people. Be aware too that it can spoil some very good red wine for the same reason.
- Cooked cheese : it is not the most tasty, but you always need one on your board for those who like it.
- Fromage frais : just as above, many people are fond of fromage frais and appreciate to have this choice on your cheese board, or just by itself after a heavy meal.
- Pié d'Angloys: very similar to Camembert our national cheese, if there is one… It is simply made of cow milk, and tastes far better when creamy, supple and soft, the combination of its melt-in-the-mouth texture with its rich, full flavor creates an unforgettable experience. so let it outside of the fridge for a few hours before serving so that you make it softer.
- Fourme d'Ambert: a wonderful mild blue cheese from the Auvergne, somewhat like Stilton.
- Morbier: a semi-soft cows' milk cheese named after the small village of Morbier in Franche-Comté. A favourite in this family, soft and slightly elastic, and is immediately recognizable by the black layer of tasteless ash separating it horizontally in the middle.
-The masterpiece that is Comte, originating in the Jura Mountains centuries ago. Today it is one of the most sought-after cheeses, because of its complex aromas that range anywhere from salty and nutty to fruity tones
- Goat's milk cheese: the fabulous Crottin de Chavignol - delicate little rounds of loveliness with their subtle yet somewhat nutty flavour.
- Ewe's milk cheese: Brebis Etorki, a mild, aromatic cheese from The French Basque region that melts in the mouth, served with salty biscuits and cherry conserve it is a dream.
- Timanoix - this is a cheese that has been weaned on Walnut Liquor. The first taste of this sixty-day aged cheese reveals sweet walnuts and chocolate. Then, the sweetness fades and a rich, earthy character takes over. Last, you’re left with a milky freshness on the tongue.
It is always appreciated if you serve a lettuce with your cheeses. Of course, serve your salad with a French vinaigrette. Obviously you must not forget Pain de Campagne