10 April 2017 by Jessica Boston
Five French Cheeses you’ll want to try!
France is understandably famous for the delicious cheeses produced there. Some of the most popular and well-loved varieties include Brie, Camembert, Roquefort and Reblochon, but with hundreds to choose from we thought we would introduce you to five lesser known French cheeses that you might not find in the supermarket at home…
Banon is produced in Provence from local goat’s milk. The cheeses are small, flat and round with each one wrapped in leaves that have been soaked in wine or French brandy. Banon is best eaten fresh so it is only aged for between 2 to 8 weeks. A young version is crumbly and tart with a tangy flavour from the leaf wrapping. A few weeks aging and Banon cheeses darken and develop a stronger, fruitier taste and a more yielding, liquid texture.
This decadent triple cream cheese is named after one of France’s most famous gastronomes Jean Brillat-Savarin. It has been made in Normandy and Burgundy since the 1930s using cow’s milk and cream for a high fat content. The cylinders of cheese develop a velvety, white rind and have a pale, creamy interior that melts in the mouth. They are sold in individual wooden boxes – the perfect treat with a crusty French stick.
If you prefer a strong and smelly cheese Livarot is for you! Made in Calvados using cow’s milk, the recipe dates back to the 1200s. It is made in discs measuring 3, 3.5 or 4 inches with each cheese wrapped in orange paper tied with raffia and resting in a shallow wooden box. The cheese has a ‘washed rind’ which means it is bathed in brine throughout the 2 month aging process with the final ‘wash’ containing annatto to give the cheese’s rind an orange colour. Livarot has a pungent farmyard flavour and is best enjoyed with a glass of Calvados brandy whilst in the brief stage of perfect ripeness.
This cheese is made in the Cantal mountain range in Auvergne. It’s made exclusively on farms in the area and only from May to October when the milk from the red Salers cows is at its best. The cows graze the slopes high in the mountains and the cheese is made there too in huts called ‘burons’. Salers is made in huge wheels that weigh up to 120lbs and are aged between 3 and 18 months before the cheese is ready to eat. The older the cheese, the darker and harder the rind becomes. Salers has a firm texture and sweet, nutty flavour reminiscent of Cheddar but with herbal and floral tones that reflect the mountain origins.
Tomme de Savoie
This cow’s milk cheese is made in the Haute-Savoie region of the Rhone-Alpes. The wheels of cheese have a rough, blotchy rind dotted with red or yellow while inside the soft, sticky cheese is pitted with mould. The cheese firms as it ages and most are aged for 2 to 3 months before being packed in wooden boxes. The damp, grassy aroma and well-rounded savoury flavour make this a delicious, a thoroughly French-tasting cheese!