A Guide to Popular French Cheeses
Cheese is one of the most popular ingredients, appetizers, and hors d'oeuvre in the world. The French have mastered the craft, bringing us some of the creamiest, nuttiest, tangiest, and flavorful of this culinary staple. Enjoy cheese in moderation, as it is typically high in fat which makes it dense in calories.
Originally crafted in Normandy, northern France. Camembert has a profile similar to Brie. However, as it is normally made in smaller wheels, it has a stronger flavor. Due to its composition, it is more melty and has a dense, edible rind. It is a perfect companion to bread for a warm and flavorful hors d'oeuvre. Pair with an aromatic Cabernet Franc.
Brie de Meaux/Brie de Melun
The image in your head when you think of French cheese is probably Brie. Camembert’s Île-de-France cousin, Brie, is one of the most well-balanced, versatile cheeses in the French market. Melt in the oven for an incredible hors d'oeuvre, dice in a salad, on top of a flat bread, or pair with pears (pun intended) for one of the most delicious marriages in the culinary world. Pair with a white wine such as Vouvray.
The “King of Cheeses” as it’s called in France, is more commonly known in the US as “blue cheese”. Tangy, versatile, crumbly, and a perfect touch to any salad, flat bread, chicken dishes, and sandwiches. Fascinatingly, the “blue” in Roquefort is actually acquired by aging in caves that have this same “blue” in the soil around them. Pair with a warm Port wine, or Cabernet Sauvignon.
American “munster” cheese is often thought to be a knock-off of this traditional French cheese. Originating from the Haut-Rhin department of eastern france, flirting with the border of Germany. Traditional Munster-géromé is considered to be sharp, yet creamy. It has a nutty flavor that is considered full-bodied and stronger than most French cheeses. It is perfectly paired with fruits and breads which will work with its strong flavor. Compliment with a Moscato for an unexpectedly perfect match.
Considered one of the staples of French cheese, Pont-l'Évêque originates from Normandy. It is full-flavored, and best paired with a robust red wine, such as Merlot.