French Cheeses - Ooh La La
The history of cheese is entwined with the history of France, and vice versa. During World War II, even Winston Churchill emphasized the importance of this single commodity saying, "A country producing almost 360 varieties of cheese cannot die."
Today, a huge variety of cheeses represent the creativity of France, and with so many options to choose from, we wanted to give you a quick list of Central Market exclusives that are a can't miss.
Comté from Fort Saint Antoine – The acclaimed affineur Marcel Petit has taken over a WWII retired ammunition bunker that’s built into the side of a mountain in France’s Jura on the eastern side of the country. The temperature and humidity of this fort are perfect for long, slow aging. The cheeses he ages there are the crème de la crème, made of only the raw milk of the Montbéliard breed of cow, aged over a year and packing in the flavor of roasted nuts and brown butter with the creaminess and melt-ability of the finest Swiss Gruyère.
Camembert Normanville – the closest you can get to an authentic Camembert in the US. Made in Normandy by E. Graindorge, this cheese is a little larger than the traditional Camembert, but the flavor is spot on. Rich, creamy/oozy paste with a white moldy rind and an incredible mushroom flavor and aroma. Served at room temperature with a torn off piece of Edouard’s baguette and you’ll think you’re in FRANCE!
Cantal – a big wheel weighing in at about 45 pounds. Made in the Cantal department in southern Auvergne. The texture is Cheddar-like and the flavor is full, rich, buttery with a tangy finish. It’s made with raw cows’ milk. Can be a nice change of pace on a cheeseboard. Or make a “fancy” grilled cheese with caramelized onions on Seedsation bread.
Abbaye de Belloc – made of raw sheep’s milk in the French Basque region of western France. Originally produced by the Benedictine order of monks at the Abbaye in Belloc. It’s got a nutty flavor and sweet, almost grassy aroma. The paste is straw colored with a dark, mottled rind. Pairs beautifully with a cherry jam.
Delice du Jura – made of pasteurized cow’s milk in the French Alps. Modeled after Reblochon that was deemed illegal in the US in 2004 due to our regulations regarding water content in raw milk cheeses. Delice du Jura is excellent in its own right. An unctuous, buttery and slightly pungent small wheel with a thin white moldy rind. This time of year, it’s perfect for tartiflette, made with roasted garlic, onions, potatoes and copious amounts of Delice du Jura.
With all these delicious choices if the question is cheese, then the answer surely must be "oui".