Le Fromage: The World of French Cheese (Part 2)

Posted on 21. Jul, 2014 by in Cooking, History, Wine

Image by Jennifer on Flickr

Image by Jennifer on Flickr

In the last post we learned about two of the most famous French cheeses: Camembert and Roquefort. Today, we will look at two more cheeses that have earned a following by cheese connoisseurs à travers le monde (around the world).

Brie

Brie is perhaps le fromage Français le plus connu (the most well known French cheese) in the United States. Along with Camembert, Brie can be purchased in most supermarchés (supermarkets) around the country. Many people may confuse Brie with Camembert because it looks similar. However, both cheeses have distinct flavors that set them apart.

Like Roquefort, Brie has been around for centuries and even gained the approval of le Roi Charlemagne (King Charlemagne) in the late 8th century.  And it was one of Louis XVI’s favorite cheeses, lending credence to its royal title “Le Roi des Fromages” (The King of Cheeses), a moniker later earned during un concours (a contest) put on by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, le Premier Ministre de France au début du 19ème siècle (France’s Prime Minister at the beginning of the 19th century).

The most famous Brie comes from the town of Meaux in the Seine-et-Marne region near Paris. Like Camembert, Brie has a kind of yellowish color, is very creamy and should be consumed with bread. It works wonderfully as a dessert cheese accompanied by fruit and paired with Champagne.

Chèvre

Chèvre is another popular and widely consumed cheese. The word chèvre means goat in French and, as you might have already guessed, this cheese is made entirely of lait de chèvre (goat’s milk).

Goat cheese is characterized by its stark white appearance that turns jaune (yellow) as it ages. If you wait too long, it begins to take on a flavor similar to savon (soap) along with une odeur puante (a smelly odor) that can be rather unpleasant. Chèvre is an acquired taste and it can be a little fort (strong) when you first try it, but give it a little time and you’ll begin to appreciate its more pungent flavor and aroma.

Unlike Brie, Camembert or even Roquefort, Chèvre comes in different formes (shapes) that you might not expect. Pyramids, cylinders and little even little cubes will make you double-check the label to make sure you’re buying chèvre. Chèvre is one of the few cheeses equally at home on your salad, your pizza or in your omelette. Un verre de vin rouge ou blanc avec un morceau de pain et un peu de Chèvre, et peut-être quelques olives (a glass of red or white wine with a piece of bread and a little Chèvre, and maybe a few olives) makes for an excellent little repas (meal).

Le Fromage: The World of French Cheese (Part 1)

Posted on 18. Jul, 2014 by in Cooking, History, Wine

Image by Gunnar Magnusson on Flickr

Image by Gunnar Magnusson on Flickr

Is there anything more stereotypically French than le fromage (cheese)? Maybe a beret, maybe a baguette, but cheese definitely ranks near the top. There are literally hundreds of different variétés de fromage (varieties of cheese) and it would take many years to really get to know them all and to be able to discern the subtle differences between them. Let’s enjoy une dégustation virtuelle (a virtual tasting) and explore two of the more popular cheeses that have become world famous.

Camembert

Perhaps the most famous of French cheeses, Camembert is named after the village of Camembert in Normandy, France. Made with du lait de vache (cow’s milk), it was introduced to le palais Français (the French palate) in the late 18th century. Mme Marie Harel is famous for creating the cheese and it gained further renown when Napoleon became one its most ardent admirers (and consumers).

Camembert is très crémeux (very creamy) and meant to be consumed at room temperature. It contains 45% matière grasse (fat) and so is to be eaten in small quantities and always with du pain (bread). Pairing Camembert with du vin rouge (red wine) and des noix et des fruits (nuts and fruit) will only serve to enhance its flavor, and thus your enjoyment.

Roquefort

The origins of Roquefort are not clear but it definitely dates back plusieurs siècles (several centuries) and was supposedly one of the favorite cheeses of le Roi Charlemagne (King Charlemagne) in the late 8th century.

Roquefort is made of lait de brebis (ewe’s milk) and is characterized by une couleur blue (a blue color) that comes from a mold called Penicillium roqueforti. Ne vous inquiétez pas (Do not worry)! The mold is perfectly safe to eat and gives Roquefort son goût unique (its unique flavor). The fat content of this cheese is 52%, so again, proceed with caution. Roquefort is best served with des noix et des figues (nuts and figs) along with a glass of fortified wine such as Port or with a good Muscat.

 

Bonjour de Provence from your New French Blogger

Posted on 08. Jul, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Bonjour! Je m’appelle Anne. I am a 33 year old French globetrotter. I have moved a lot since my very young years, and I guess I’ve adopted the lifestyle now.

I really enjoy meeting new people, conversing about different cultures, traditions, food, and languages. I had the chance to be bilingual as I moved to the US at the age of 8 (for 5 years), and it gave me the love for learning new languages. I speak French, English, Spanish and I understand Italian, which is a language and a country that I absolutely love! My husband is from there.

I have a degree in International Business, and after 6 years working in marketing in the luxury industry, I decided to follow my husband who got a position in San Diego, California. We moved in 2011 with our oldest son, Noah, and spent 3 awesome years there. We have had the chance to welcome another boy to the family in 2012, Hugo.

We moved back to France 3 months ago, to Provence (South of France) and even though we sure miss San Diego, we enjoy la météo (the weather), le chant des cigales (the singing of the cicadas), and la nourriture (the food). Everyday, we have fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers next door, et ça, “ça n’a pas de prix” (and this is priceless)!

We try to raise our children to be bilingual; they are exposed to French during the day, and we speak English at home. Even though it is quite challenging, I have to say that they are doing a great job.

My family and I love being outdoors – hiking, biking, playing games. We also love visiting new places, especially here in Provence: les villages (villages), les grottes (caves), les monuments anciens (old monuments).

I am looking forward to putting up some posts here and conversing with all of you on all sorts of great subjects!

 

 Anne Minazio