Monday, December 15, 2008

Learning about French Cheese - Part 2

Soft Cheeses:

These exquisite cheeses are the result of French cheese-making genius. They are known as soft paste cheeses, usually having a white powdery crust which, when ripened, is tinged reddish brown and the center is soft to the touch. Inside, the cheese is golden yellow, creamy, buttery smooth and “runny”. Once the crust is cut, the cheese ceases to ripen. As with all French cheeses, this type must be served at room temperature

Bibress- A creamy cheese with a flavor similar to a mild blue cheese.
Brie-The “King” of soft-ripened cheeses. Its powdery, white edible crust becomes tinged reddish brown when the cheese is fully ripened. As with each of this type of cheese, it reaches its peak at room temperature.

Brie de Meaux- One of the original, authentic Brie cheeses, named after the city in which it is made.

Brie de Melun - Another authentic variety of this famous cheese, also named after the city where it is made.

Bache Lorraine- Similar to Brie in texture and flavor.

Cambree- This newcomer is a combination of Brie and Camembert, with 50 per cent butter fat.
Camembert- One of France’s most popular cheeses of this variety, it is an original specialty of the province of Normandy.

Caprice des Dieux - A slightly creamier than Camembert with an edible crust.

Carre de 1’ Est -Similar in flavor to Brie, but milder. As with most of this variety, the crust is edible.

Chaource - A specialty of Champagne country, this cheese is creamy, plump and round in shape. Its white crust is edible.

Coulommiers - Made in the same region as Brie, it is smaller in size, plumper than its cousin, but similar in flavor and texture.

Fol Amour-Made in the north of France, and similar to Brie in flavor and texture.

St. Benoit - A specialty of the area of Orleans, it is made from skimmed cow’s milk and is in the shape of a small, thick disk. Inside it is ivory-colored and very creamy.

Valdieue - This cheese is a close cousin to Carré de 1’ Est, in shape, size and flavor.

Valmeuse - This is again in the Brie family, but it contains a special stabilizer to retard ammoniation.
Semi-Soft Cheeses:
These are cheeses which are semi-firm to the touch, with a smooth, buttery texture inside that yields on finger pressure, or when cut with a knife. They are mild in flavor with a clean, fresh tang to them that varies in strength depending on the age. Because they slice easily, they have good melting qualities and are often used in cooking. Most semi-soft cheeses have an inedible crust.

Babybeh - Made from cow’s milk, this cheese is firm in texture and retains its freshness because it is enveloped in a red parrafin wrapper. It has a slightly nutty flavor.

Bonbel - Also made from cow’s milk, this is firm in texture and has a yellow paraffin wrapper. Slightly larger than its cousin, Babybel, this cheese, too is slightly nutty in flavor.

Chiberta - A specialty of the Basque country, in the south of France, this cheese is made from cow’s milk, is ivory-colored on the inside with tiny holes. It has a dark orange inedible crust.

Livarot - A famous specialty of the province of Normandy, with a strong and piquant flavor.

Edam Français- Rich orange in color with a red rind and a distinct nutty flavor.

Munster - From the province of Alsace, this cheese has a strong aroma but is milder in taste. Rather orange-y in color, it is sometimes flavored with cumin or caraway.

Pont l’Evêque - Again a Norman specialty, the name of the cheese means Bishop’s Bridge. It has impressions on its usually edible rind which resultfrom the straw on which it is ripened.

Port Salut - Originated by the Trappist monks in their Monastery of Port-du-Salut

Entrammes, this popular cheese comes with an inedible orange rind.

Reblochon - Made in the French Alps, the name derives from the term for the second-milking of the day, the cow’s milk, which is used to make this cheese. A small, flat disk, it is mild in flavor.
Royaldieue - Similar in texture and body to Port Salut but has a higher butter fat content. The crust is not edible.

St. Nectaire - Again, a cousin to Port Salut but its inedible crust is darkish brown.

St. Paulin - Another look-alike to Port Salut, in shape and flavor, but it does not have an orange crust. This cheese is also a creation of the Trappist monks.

Goat's Milk Cheeses---Chevres:
These cheeses are much prized by connoisseurs and almost every region of France has its own special goat’s milk cheese. Textures vary from soft, but firm, somewhat like cream cheese, to extremely hard.

Banon - This cheese is a specialty of Provence. It is wrapped in chest nut leaves and tied with raffia.

Capricette - This is a fresh goat cheese, with a low fat content and a delightful tangy flavor.

Chabichou -A soft goat cheese made in the Poitou region, and its flavor varies from fruity to sharp depending on its age.

Chèvre au Poivre—aux Herbes - These patty-shaped cheeses are sprinkled with pepper, fennel and rosemary.

Chevrotin- It has a fat content of 45 per cent, mild aroma, with a creamy texture and nutty flavor.

Montrachet - This is made in the province of Burgundy. Mild and creamy in flavor with a rind that may or may not be dusted with vine wood ash.

Pyramide/Valençay - It has a mild nutty flavor and also its edible rind may or may not be dusted with wood ash.

St. Marcellin- Originally this cheese, from the Isère Valley, was made strictly from goat’s milk. Today, it is more often a combination of cow and goat. It is a soft round disk, with a mild slightly acid flavor.

Sainte Maure - A soft-ripened goat cheese, log-shaped, with a thin edible crust and a mild flavor which becomes more pronounced as it ages.

1 comment:

Nathalie said...

Moi je voudrais savoir si tu les as tous goûté?! Je n'en connais pas la moitié!
Il te faudra plus d'un an pour en faire le tour je crois!