Cheeses have long been considered the hallmark of France. According to various estimates, from 400 to 1000 varieties are produced in the country.
The types of French cheeses are incredibly diverse: hard, semi-hard and soft, seasoned like wine or young, pressed and cooked-pressed, with a washed crust, with noble mold and without it, from cow, sheep, goat or buffalo milk. In order to feel the true spirit of France, you should definitely try as many of its magnificent cheeses as possible.
In France, cheeses are eaten at the end of the meal, like a dessert, and most often served simply – with a fresh crunchy baguette, washed down with good wine.
This delicious cheese treat was born in the Alpine valleys as far back as the XIII-XIV centuries, when local peasants went on a trick. To pay less taxes on milk, they deliberately did not “finish off” the cows. Secondary milking, already without a tax collector, yielded more fatty and tasty milk, which they began to use for making soft cheese.
Today Reblochon, like almost all the famous cheeses in France, refers to “controlled name” products (AOC). It has a soft and smooth, creamy texture, natural, deep taste with brackish notes and a rather specific aroma. During ripening, Reblochon is washed with a special brine, due to which a crust with a characteristic mold forms on the surface of this French cheese.
Red (Reblochon Laitier) or green (Reblochon Fermier) tags may appear on the packaging. So you can understand whether the cheese was made on an industrial cheese factory or on a farm from the milk of cows of one herd.
Interesting fact: every year in August, the village of Clusaz in France becomes the venue for a holiday dedicated to Reblochon cheese. The event is accompanied by a craft fair, folk dances and tastings.
Reblochon goes well with French wines: white Chablis and Saint-Veran, red Beaujolais, Chinon and Pomerol, as well as aged champagne. In French stores, such cheese is sold for about 3-6 € (packaging 250-450 g). In cafes and restaurants Reblochon you can often try assorted cheeses (the average price of a plate is 14 €).
The history of Livaro began in Normandy back in the 13th century, and on the eve of the twentieth century it was already the most widespread and beloved cheese in the region. Around the same time, he was assigned an unflattering nickname – “poor meat”, which was explained by the nutritional properties of cheese and its original aftertaste with tones of jerky.
Today, Livaro is doing almost the same as hundreds of years ago. While the cheese ripens in the cellars, it is washed several times, including spice infusion of annatto seeds – they stain the crust in a reddish-orange color. Livaro itself is golden yellow, dense and soft with an intense, rather sharp aroma and a spicy, full-bodied taste, which becomes sharper with a longer exposure.
A distinctive feature of Livaro is 5 strips of paper (formerly reed straw, reeds) with which a cheese disk is wrapped. They prevent it from settling when ripe.
Livaro is customary to eat with French bread or fruit. It is usually served with white and red dry wines, Calvados or Norman cider. In Paris stores, the price of cheese can go up to 10 € for 270 g. And from Fromagerie Graindorge, one of the main producers of Livarot, it costs only 3-8 € (450 g – 5 €). There is a “cheese Mecca” in the commune of Livaro in France, in the homeland of the famous delicacy.
The birthplace of Mimolet is the commune of Lille in northern France. There are still people in the world who want to argue about whether the local peasants themselves came up with this recipe or based on the experience of the Dutch cheese makers. Be that as it may, the Netherlands also produce Mimolette.
The favorite cheese of French President Charles de Gaulle immediately attracts attention with an unusual combination of colors: gray crust and bright orange flesh. In the production, dye from annatto seeds is used, it also gives the fleeting and light spicy flavor notes. However, cheese owes its taste not only to this ingredient.
Cow’s milk is used for production: it is pasteurized successively, fermented and curdled, heated and, having separated the whey, pressed. After salting and drying, special mites are hooked onto the heads, which actively gnaw through tiny moves in the cheese, thereby creating its unique pattern and providing the pulp with the ability to “breathe” throughout the entire ripening period.
In France, you can find a fleet with different aging periods: from a young jeune (he is more elastic and sweet, his “age” is not more than six months) to a solid vieille and extra vieille, which can withstand up to 18-24 months. Such mature cheeses are considered truly delicious and expensive.
The fact is that the older the Fleet, the richer and more original its taste: pronounced walnut-fruit, caramel, spicy notes appear in it. They are perfectly revealed in combination with wines, light and dark beer or champagne.