Just the words “French cheese” make some of us salivate like Pavlov’s dog. I haven’t actually been to France (yet, anyway), but I have dreamt of strolling through Paris, stopping for lunch at a cafe where I’d simply order a baguette and a hunk of cheese and be as happy as can be.
But aside from Brie, and maybe Camembert, how many French cheeses are you really familiar with? And if you were to throw a party featuring a French cheese (or three), would you know how to serve them, or what to pair them with?
Our friends at The Cheeses of Europe (which sounds like the coolest group ever, right? When can we all hang out?) sent over a bit of info about some lesser-known French cheeses, as well as tips for entertaining with French cheese and creating the perfect plateau de fromage. Take a look at their tips below and see if you learn something new!
French Cheese 101
Brie: Called the King of Cheeses, Brie is one of the best-known cheeses of France. Its soft, creamy texture, mellow flavor and rich aroma make it a crowd-pleaser on bread and crackers or melted in an omelet. Try Brie with light, fruity red wines or crisp whites.
Camembert: The quintessential French cheese, Camembert is typically a bit stronger in flavor than Brie. It has a taste of wild mushrooms and a buttery texture that melts into the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy Camembert with a light, fruity red or sweet white wine.
Comté: With small, scattered holes called “eyes,” Comté has an intriguing, complex flavor that can include hints of apricot, chocolate, butter, cream, hazelnuts and toast. Enjoy Comté in cubes, on a sandwich, melted in fondue, or grated and sprinkled on your favorite dishes. Any way you like it, serve Comté with a dry white or light red wine.
Triple Crème: Luxuriously creamy, Delice de Bourgogne has a rich, delicate flavor with the tanginess of sour cream. Spread some on walnut bread and enjoy with a glass of Champagne.
St. Nectaire: With a grassy, nutty flavor and a touch of salt and spice, Saint-Nectaire is a great addition to any cheese plate and it goes well with bold, fruity reds and silky white wines.
Bleu d’Auvergne: With a pungent scent, Bleu d’Auvergne has a salty and spicy taste. A perfect addition to salads or served with apple slices, Bleu d’Auvergne is also ideal on a burger. Enjoy with sweet dessert wines, strong reds, or a rich dark beer.
Emmental: With a lightly sharp, slightly salty taste, Emmental is great on a sandwich or a burger, in an omelet, or as a surprise twist to macaroni and cheese. Try Emmental with a sweet white or light to medium red wine.
Pont l’Evêque: With buttery, savory flavors and hints of tangy fruit, Pont l’Evêque is similar to Livarot and is an excellent choice to serve before or after a meal. Enjoy Pont l’Evêque with Champagne, medium-bodied whites, hard cider or apple brandy.
Mimolette: The sharp, nutty, fruity taste of Mimolette also includes sweet hints of butterscotch. Its brilliant orange color makes it the focus of any cheese platter. Try Mimolette with a rustic red wine or ale.
Raclette: With a salty, nutty flavor and silky, smooth texture, Raclette is delicious melted and served with bread, boiled potatoes, roasted root vegetables or cured meats. Try it with a fruity, medium-bodied red or white wine.