Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Learning about French Cheese - Part 3

Blue Cheeses: These cheeses have a blue vein marbling mostly developed by natural fermentation processes, sometimes by inoculation to start or hasten ripening, and maturing. The term persillé, which is often applied to these cheeses, has nothing to do with parsley. Rather it refers to the blue- green veining which resembles parsley. These cheeses have a tangy flavor; some more than others, are usually semi-soft, often crumbly, especially when cold. Natural blue cheeses are produced in many areas of France and are named after their region or origin.

Bleu d’Auvergne - From the mountains of the rustic region of the Auvergne, this cheese is made from cow’s milk. It has a rich, sharp flavor.

Bleu de Bresse-Also made from cow’s milk in the region of Bresse. It has a mild-ish flavor for this type of cheese.

Pipo Creme -This cheese has a very distinct flavor, slices easily as it does not crumble. The thin crust is edible.

Roquefort- The “King” of cheeses — as it is known throughout the world. Made exclusively from ewe’s milk in the south of France and aged and ripened in the limestone caves of the small village of Roquefort. It is unique — unlike any other cheese in flavor and texture. Authentic Roquefort can be easily identified by the red sheep emblem on the label.

Firm Texture Cheeses: These cheeses are used very often in gratiné dishes, as an ingredient in many recipes. Usually they have many “eyes”, the size of which is helpful in identifying the various kinds.

Beaumont - A specialty of the Savoie region of France, this cheese has a distinct nutty flavor. It has a tannish crust which is not edible. Inside, the ivory colored cheese has many tiny “eyes” arranged close together.

Comte - A product of the Jura region, it is similar to Emmental, but has smaller and fewer eyes about the size of cherries. (In France Gruyère is the generic term for this cheese.)

Emmental Français- Identified by its eyes which are relatively large. This cheese has a nut-like tang that adds zest to such dishes as quiches, fondues and sauces. (USE IT IN EVERYTHING)

Mimolette - Made in the north of France from cow’s milk, it is about the size and shape of Edam. In texture and flavor, however, it is more similar to cheddar. Out side it is orange and inside a bright yellow.

Tomme des Pyrénées - A cheese from France’s Basque country, it is a large round cow’s milk cheese, with an inedible black rind.

Tomme de Savoie-From the Alpine region, this cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a low fat content. It is firm, subtly flavored.

Hard Cheeses:

Cantal- A native of the Auvergne region, this is one of France’s oldest and most famous cheeses. Has a piquant flavor but its hard crust is not edible. It is low in fat and high in protein — making it an excellent choice for dieters.

Process Cheese: Most of France’s process cheeses are a blend with a creme de Gruyère as as base. They may have a firm, heavy texture, or may be soft, smooth and spreadable.

Beau Pasteur - This cheese has a mild, distinct flavor, a creamy buttery texture and no crust.

Fondu au Raisin/La Grappe - A semi-soft cheese with a distinctive grape flavor imparted by its rind (inedible) of grape seeds, called “marc” — the remains from the pressed grapes.

Gourmandise - Similar to Beau Pasteur with either a cherry or walnut flavor.

La Vache Qui Rit- meaning “laughing cow”, a picture of which appears on the label. This has become an American favorite, though I heard the variety sold in the US is not the same as what is sold in France.

Nec Plus Ultra - Similar in texture and quality to Gourmandise. It is also is available in cherry or walnut flavors.
Six de Savoie-Similar to La Vache Qui Rit, it is pack aged in small triangular wedges.

Tomme au Marc -Same as Fondu au Raisin.

1 comment:

William said...

Just found your blog by a tie ith Rick's. Have enjoyed reading about your adventures and now you can give me a lesson on chesse by way of your blog.

It was great getting o know you and Abby during our brief stay.


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