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Types of Cheese from France

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January 15, 2015 / French / By
ETG - Food For Thought

When it comes to cheese, we can say France and Italy are the most creative cheese producers.

In France we can find more than 1000 different types of cheese if we consider the 350-400 cheese types and the varieties of each type.

We cannot talk about all of them since some varieties are not so well-known but we will create a short history of cheese. We will also discuss the most famous or used types of cheese from France. To make this more interesting, we will add some recipes ideas for each type highlighted. In another article we will talk about how to combine cheese with wine since we all know that this is the French way to drink amazing wine.

Context

In the European Union certain types of cheese, including, of course, many types of French cheese, are covered by PDO (protected designation of origin). Others are protected by AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée, which means controlled designation of origin and represents a French certification).

French cheese production is listed under four big categories. PDO and AOC determine in which category or categories each type of protected cheese can be listed in.

Sounds complicated and it really is, but when you have more than 1000 type of cheese you need these kind of rules to protect producers and consumers.

The four big categories are:

Fermier – farmhouse cheese - the cheese is produced in the same farmhouse where the milk was produced

Artisanal – cheese produced in small quantities in a farm using milk from the same farm but also from other farms

Coopérative – a diary with local milk producers who produce cheese together

Industriel – cheese made in a factory with milk produced locally or regionally depending on AOC/PDO rules for each type of cheese

56 types of cheese are protected by French law. Other types are protected by EU laws.

With this in mind, let's talk about some famous types of cheese.

Popular French Cheeses

Camembert (AOC) is a soft and creamy cheese with a white bloomy rind, first made in Normandy (northern France).

Type of milk: raw cow's milk

Camembert recipe:

Baked Camembert from Jamie Oliver

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

 

Brie de Meaux (AOC) produced in Brie, near Paris. Brie has a milk and rich taste with sweet, butterly mushrooms or truffles and almond flavours.

Type of milk: raw cow's milk

Brie recipe:

Baked Brie from Food Network

 

Roquefort (AOC), called "the cheese of kings and popes" in France, Roquefort is moist, rich, creamy, salty and tangy. It is mostly used in salads and dressings.

Type of milk: raw sheep's milk

 Roquefort recipe:

Roquefort pear salad from All Recipes

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

 

Boursin is a fresh cream, soft cheese, traditionally flavored with spices and herbs. Today, you can find Boursin cheese with tomato, onions, garlic, nuts, pepper, cranberry etc.

Type of milk: pasteurized caw's milk

Boursin recipe:

Boursin Cranberry & Pepper Sausage Rolls by Marcus Bean from Boursin.com

Photo Credit: pdphoto.org

 

Reblochon(AOC) is a semi-soft, pressed, uncooked cheese with a velvety rind (color: yellow to orange). The taste is mild fruity with an intense nutty aftertaste.

Type of milk: raw caw's milk

Reblochon recipe:

Tartiflette (French Bacon, Potato, and Reblochon Casserole) from Saveur.com

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

 

Munster (AOC) soft and creamy cheese with cumin flavor with a red humid coating on the rind due to repeated washes.

Type of milk: raw caw's milk

Munster recipe:

Munster Quiche from Easy French Food

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

 

Époisses de Bourgogne (AOC) is a smear-ripened cheese with a soft red-orange color and an extremely soft texture.

 

Type of milk: raw caw's milk

No recipes! Serve it with Trappist beer.

 

Tomme de Savoie (AOC) low in fat content, semi-soft, pressed cheese with firm texture and grass and nust flavours. Tangy, citrus and mushrooms notes can be present.

Type of milk: raw caw's milk

Tomme de Savoie recipe:

Fresh Asparagus with Tomme de Savoie salad from Gourmandize

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Livarot (AOC) one of the oldest and finest Normandy cheese with a washed rind and soft taste. Creamy and smooth texture and citrusy, nutty and spicy flavored.

 

Type of milk: raw caw's milk or pasteurized cow's milk

Livarot recipe:

Livarot cheese gratin from 911 Chef Eric

 

Other Delicious Cheeses

Abondance (AOC) is a mountain golden cheese with strong smell and fuity, buttery and hazelnuts flavour. The texture is creamy, velvety and supple.

Type of milk: raw caw's milk

Abondance recipe:

Trincaz' Brothers Berthoud from Cooking Chanel

 

Banon (AOC) old, traditional cheese. Banon can be firm, mild or soft, creamy and tart with a nutty flavour. The rind is wrapped in leaves.


Type of milk: raw goat's milk

Banon recipe:

Mesclun salad with Banon Cheese from Epicurious

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Beaufort (AOC) firm Alpine cheese. Beaufort is pale yellow, smooth and creamy texture and a distinct flavour.

Type of milk: raw cow's milk

Beaufort recipe:

Beaufort Cheese Tart from TheWorldWideGourmet

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Bleu d'Auvergne (AOC) French blue cheese, creamy, with blue-green mold. The rind is moist and sticky, with a spicy, salty and peppery taste.


Type of milk: raw cow's milk

Bleu d'Auvergne recipe:

Pear and Bleu d'Auverge cheese tart from Appelation d'ORIGINE Protegée AUVERGNE

 

Brocciu (AOC) fresh, lactose-free cotage cheese (usually served as an alternative for the Italian Ricotta). Brocciu is milky with a very distinctive sweet flavour.

Type of milk: raw goat's milk or raw ewe's milk

Brocciu recipe:

Brocciu Omlette from June d'Arville

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

 

Cabecou (AOC) dipped in plum brandy, sprinkled with black pepper than rapped in chestnut leaves. Result? A thin striped rind, smooth and creamy texture, tangy flavour.


Type of milk: pasteurized goat's milk

Cabecou recipe:

Frisée Salad with Warm Crusted Cabecou and Bacon Lardons from Local Flavor Magazine


Cancoillotte or Cancoyotte (LR, Label Régional) low fat cheese produced in Franche-Comte but also in Lorraine and Luxembourg.

Type of milk: cow's milk

Cancouillotte recipe:

Endive, Lardons & Cancoillotte Gratin with a Peasant Boule from Life's a Feast

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Comté (AOC) hard mountain cheese, one of the most popular cheeses in France and considered one of the finest cheeses in the world with a pale yellow color and silky, flabby or crystalline texture. More than 80 flavours are available but the basic one is brown butter with roasted nuts and a sweet finish.

 

Type of milk: raw cow's milk

Comté recipe:

Grilled Cheese Sandwhich from Saveur

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

 

Fourme d'Ambert (AOC) one of the oldest French cheeses is a traditional farmhouse blue cheese more supple and dense than most blue cheeses injected with sweet white wine during the aging process.

Type of milk: raw cow's milk or pasteurized cow's milk

Fourme d'Ambert recipe:

Pear, Parsnip & Fourme d'Ambert Tartines from Food and Wine

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Maroilles (AOC) square shape, smooth, washed sticky rind cheese. Powerful flavour reminding of smoked bacon.

Type of milk: raw cow's milk or pasteurized cow's milk

Marroilles recipe:

Tarte au Maroilles from Travel with Kat

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Saint-Nectaire (AOC) semi-soft, washed rind cheese with creamy, supple, silky texture and mushrooms, cellar, nuts and hay flavours.


Type of milk: raw cow's milk or pasteurized cow's milk

Saint-Nectaire recipe:

Saint-Nectaire potato patties from stnectaire.com

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


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Country: France

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Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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