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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / French, Creole and Cajun Cuisine / The French Cheese of the Week Club!
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    The French Cheese of the Week Club!

    Go to page 1, 2, 3 ... 17, 18, 19  Next Page >>
    French Tart
    Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:48 pm
    Forum Host
    xxxxxxxxxxPhotobucket

    chia, Kate and French Tart would like to invite you to our new weekly topic, The French Cheese of the Week Club! We will be featuring a French cheese every week or so, and invite you to stop by for a "virtual degustation"!!

    We will be discussing and sharing serving suggetsions, as well as asking for recipe ideas. We will be telling you all about our featured cheese, how to store and use it..........it will be a veritable Cheese Fest!!

    Starting in April and ending ONLY when we have tasted all 400+ cheeses!!


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    French Cheese
    How many French cheeses are there?
    There are about 400 different types of French cheeses. The exact number varies depending on how one counts them (e.g. all types of cheese, or only those that meet the AOC standard).
    However, one also needs to consider that much of the cheese in France is made by small independents or co-operatives. For a single type of cheese, there may be several hundred different producers. The cheese from these different producers will be somewhat different due to variations in the milk, yeast, and production approach used. Some producers will take milk from only a single farm, while others will use milk from several selected farms. Individual cheese makers may have different quality standards (for example, some will insist that the milk is 100% bio). Some will produce cheese in a highly controlled and technically advanced environment, while others will use more traditional means. All these differences can result in a given type of cheese having many different versions in terms of texture, taste, quality and price.
    Furthermore, cheeses can be aged for different periods of time, changing the taste, texture and aroma. Each producer may provide mild (young), medium and strong (well-aged) versions of their cheese. This is of course relative; young Roquefort will have a stronger taste and smell than an old Compté.
    Consequently, if one considers the differences resulting from individual producers and aging, it is more accurate to say that there are many thousands of types of cheese in France.

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    Buying and storing French cheese
    Cheese purchased in a supermarket is normally from a large commercial producer. The quality is generally average, with the more up-market stores tending to have better quality than the discount stores. Cheese in specialist stores and gourmet stores is typically of better quality than supermarkets, but correspondingly more expensive. In marketplaces, the quality can range from the very best to very poor; price is a fairly good indicator. One can also buy cheese direct from the smaller producers and co-operatives, many of whom will allow you to taste before buying (in much the same way as the smaller wine houses encourage wine tasting); quality and price both vary but one can often get an excellent cheese at a reasonable price.
    Cheese should be stored in a cool, dry location (e.g. the fridge). It can also be stored in a wine cellar (provided it is not too humid), but this should be done only in small quantities and with mild-smelling cheese; otherwise the smell of the cheese will eventually affect the wine. Pieces of cheese should be wrapped in paper rather than plastic, as the paper allows it to breath.
    If the cheese is stored in a fridge, consider taking it out an hour before serving. This will allow it to warm slightly, so the natural aromas and taste can be better appreciated.

    NOTES:

    Like wine, French cheese is protected by AOC laws (appellation d'origine contrôllée) which only allow certain limited quantities of a particular cheese to be produced in order to prevent mass production ruining the subtle variations in regional French cheeses.
    In good, traditional restaurants, there will be a plateau de fromage (cheeseboard) with a comprehensive range of cheeses, particularly local ones, kept at optimum temperature and ready to be served with bread (no butter). Trying the local cheeses rather than sticking to the ever-present Brie, Camembert and chèvre will broaden your knowledge and really open your eyes to what France has on offer.
    Fromage de chèvre (goat's cheese) comes in a number of forms but is usually creamy and sweet at first, growing more salty and harder with age. Cabécou-de-Rocamadour from the Pyrenees is good served warm with salad; Crottin-de-Chavignol is a classic from Burgundy and gets quite salty after a couple of weeks; for a milder version try the Loire's Ste-Maure-de-Touraine.
    Fromage à pate persillée (blue cheese) - Roquefort is the most famous and made from ewe's milk; Bresse-Bleu and Fourme d'Ambert (very mild) are both made from cow's milk in the Rhone-Alps.
    Fromage à pate molle (soft cheese) includes the popular Camembert from Normandy, and Brie de Meaux, both made from cow's milk.
    Fromage à pate demi-dure (semi-hard cheese), uncooked and pressed, includes Cantal, which tastes a bit like Cheddar and is made from cow's milk in the Auvergne, and the delicious Tomme de Savoie.
    Cheese should be served at room temperature so that the flavour is able to develop. If you are cutting a round cheese, like a Camembert, cut it into wedges like a pie. A wedge shape (eg, Brie) should be cut tip to rind, remembering never to cut off the tip. With blue cheeses, don't steal all the best bits - take your share of the rind too! As for wine, regional wines often go well with cheese from that region, so ask for tips from the locals.


    FIRST WEEK IN APRIL CHEESE:

    St Maure - Loire Valley

    Chevre - Goat's Cheese


    Sainte Maure

    SECOND WEEK IN APRIL:

    Photobucket

    Fourme d'Ambert AOC - Auvergne

    General information:
    Origin: Auvergne
    Cheese group: Blue cheeses
    Milk type: Cow's milk
    Strength: Mild
    Taste: Mushroom and nutty overtones
    Fat content: 50%
    Season: Summer, autumn, winter


    THIRD WEEK IN APRIL:

    Photobucket

    Ossau-Iraty AOC -Pyrénées

    General information:
    Origin: Middle-Pyrénées
    Cheese group: Pressed, uncooked cheeses
    Milk type: Ewe's milk
    Strength: Medium
    Taste: Nutty, aromatic, vegetable-like
    Fat content: 50%
    Season: Spring's end, summer, autumn



    FOURTH WEEK IN APRIL:

    Petit Chaumes (Le) - Dordorgne

    General information:
    Origin: Aquitaine
    Cheese group: Soft, washed-rind cheeses
    Milk type: Cow's milk
    Strength: Mild
    Taste: Fairly bland but creamy finish
    Fat content: 50%


    Last edited by French Tart on Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:29 pm, edited 5 times in total
    Rita~
    Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:57 pm
    Forum Host
    Cheese food Goddesses! Of course accompanied by wine. Count me here to see what the first cheese will be. I can`t wait to enjoy it in person. May 21 is coming qiuck.
    French Tart
    Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:01 pm
    Forum Host
    ~Rita~ wrote:
    Cheese food Goddesses! Of course accompanied by wine. Count me here to see what the first cheese will be. I can`t wait to enjoy it in person. May 21 is coming qiuck.


    We are also holding a French Wine of the Month Club too Rita!!! icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif
    First cheese will be reavealed soon................ icon_wink.gif Need to chat to chia and Kate! icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif
    I cannot wait to meet you for lunch in Bordeaux........GREAT!
    FT icon_biggrin.gif
    Chef Shadows
    Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:02 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I am ready for this cheese fest!!!!

    Bring them on!
    French Tart
    Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:08 pm
    Forum Host
    Chef Shadows wrote:
    I am ready for this cheese fest!!!!

    Bring them on!


    This is BRILLIANT!! We already have two takers!! Hey Shadows, would you like to suggest a few cheeses that you would like to see featured sooner rather than later?? This is a chat thread to discuss cheese as well as feature them!
    FT icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif
    Chef Shadows
    Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:31 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    French Tart wrote:
    Chef Shadows wrote:
    I am ready for this cheese fest!!!!

    Bring them on!


    This is BRILLIANT!! We already have two takers!! Hey Shadows, would you like to suggest a few cheeses that you would like to see featured sooner rather than later?? This is a chat thread to discuss cheese as well as feature them!
    FT icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif


    Yes!

    Fourme d'Ambert
    and
    Abondance ( I love this stinky stuff )

    Both of these cheeses have unique flavor and texture!

    I would like to learn more on how to use them in traditional French foods.
    Rita~
    Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:50 pm
    Forum Host
    French Tart wrote:
    ~Rita~ wrote:
    Cheese food Goddesses! Of course accompanied by wine. Count me here to see what the first cheese will be. I can`t wait to enjoy it in person. May 21 is coming qiuck.


    We are also holding a French Wine of the Month Club too Rita!!! icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif
    First cheese will be reavealed soon................ icon_wink.gif Need to chat to chia and Kate! icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif
    I cannot wait to meet you for lunch in Bordeaux........GREAT!
    FT icon_biggrin.gif
    I can`t wait as well. What is the weather like in May?
    AKillian24
    Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:03 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    This is perfect! I'm looking for a mild blue cheese to make these.

    The recipe calls for Roquefort, but I'll be pairing it with a lighter balsamic-fruit roast chicken so I thought a softer taste would pair a bit better.
    French Tart
    Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:39 pm
    Forum Host
    AKillian24 wrote:
    This is perfect! I'm looking for a mild blue cheese to make these.

    The recipe calls for Roquefort, but I'll be pairing it with a lighter balsamic-fruit roast chicken so I thought a softer taste would pair a bit better.


    There are SO MANY other blue cheeses...........we will be featuring a cheese a week........starting on Monday - so PLEASE keep stopping by!

    A few ideas for alternative blue cheese ideas.....Fourme d'Ambert......Bleu d'Auvergne..............Bresse bleu............

    FT icon_biggrin.gif
    AKillian24
    Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:44 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    French Tart wrote:
    AKillian24 wrote:
    This is perfect! I'm looking for a mild blue cheese to make these.

    The recipe calls for Roquefort, but I'll be pairing it with a lighter balsamic-fruit roast chicken so I thought a softer taste would pair a bit better.


    There are SO MANY other blue cheeses...........we will be featuring a cheese a week........starting on Monday - so PLEASE keep stopping by!

    A few ideas for alternative blue cheese ideas.....Fourme d'Ambert......Bleu d'Auvergne..............Bresse bleu............

    FT icon_biggrin.gif


    I see a trip to Whole Foods this Saturday! I would like to try out some of these for my recipe.
    French Tart
    Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:14 am
    Forum Host
    FIRST WEEK IN APRIL CHEESE:

    St Maure - Loire Valley


    Photobucket

    Chevre - Goat's Cheese


    Sainte Maure

    The first time I tried cutting into this cheese, I noticed a stick in the middle of it. It looked like a cheese popsicle. It turned out to be a straw and not a stick and is used to help the cheese form during the aging (Affinage) process.

    This log-shaped goat cheese is from an area in France called the Touraine in the Loire Valley. It is said to have been invented during Arab invasions in the Carolingian period (8th and 9th centuries), when goat breeding was first introduced in the Touraine region.

    What makes this cheese unique is that it is an aged goat milk cheese or chevre. Most of us are more familiar with fresh goat milk cheese logs that are soft and spreadible but the French prefer this older type of aged chevre.

    Characteristics

    With the aging comes more complex flavours that can be rather pronounced. The cheese has a walnut aroma and a slightly salty but nutty taste. Sainte Maure can sometimes be runny around the edges and will have a nutty but slightly tart flavor.

    It's made from goats milk (45% fat) and is soft with a natural rind. The rind should be thin, smooth with a blue-gray molding.

    Our Sainte-Maure was coated with a wood ash and tasted smooth and rich. I've been eating it plain but have also added it to my mixed greens salads.

    It comes in 8 ounce logs and if you can't find any at your local gourmet market, try purchasing some online maybe, I highly recommend them for all your hard to find cheese requirements.

    Wines That Go With Sainte Maure
    Chinon rouge
    dry white Vouvray
    Sauvignon Blanc

    (Arguably one of the best wine-cheese combinations is fresh goat's cheese paired with wines made with the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety - a great choice for those fashionable goat's cheese and chargilled vegetable dishes you find in smart restaurants. You could also try a Chardonnay from South Burgundy.)

    Photobucket
    French Tart
    Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:41 am
    Forum Host
    A recipe that I made up for the Cheese of the week..............using St Maure!!!

    Roast Balsamic Beetroot With Walnut Crusted Hot Goat's Cheese

    Photobucket

    Photobucket

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    French Tart
    Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:55 am
    Forum Host
    SECOND WEEK IN APRIL:

    Photobucket

    Fourme d'Ambert AOC - Auvergne

    General information:
    Origin: Auvergne
    Cheese group: Blue cheeses
    Milk type: Cow's milk
    Strength: Mild
    Taste: Mushroom and nutty overtones
    Fat content: 50%
    Season: Summer, autumn, winter

    Anyone have some good BLUE recipes to share????


    FT icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif
    Rita~
    Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:53 pm
    Forum Host
    French Tart
    Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:45 am
    Forum Host
    OH yes - I KNEW Rita would come to the rescue!!! GREAT recipes and VERY edible looking photos Rita! LOVELY!!

    THANKS!!

    I'll look for some of my old favourites now!

    FT icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif
    Go to page 1, 2, 3 ... 17, 18, 19  Next Page >> E-mail me when someone replies to this
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