French are in love with their cheeses… With more than 2,000 varieties, chances are at least one will tickle your taste buds in all the right ways. Historically, the world’s love for cheese seems to have always held true. France had an uninterrupted history of cheesemaking and today is known for well over 400 cheeses. From being in early days a local product, simply identified by its geographical origin, there are so now many sophisticated gourmet cheeses with different labels and new farm based cheese makers products.
We spent a memorable evening with Gerard Poulard at the fashionable Scarlett Bar and restaurant, Pullman G. sampling great varieties of French farmed cheese from the best of France’s boutique cheese producers.
French people are deeply connected to and proud of their cheese. Truth is, every region of France has its own particular cheeses, each with its own distinct taste, production process, aging techniques, secret formulas and a plethora of other factors, from raw ingredients to finished product.
Impossible to go through a comprehensive list of every French cheese but here is our take on some of the most popular and most delicious French cheeses tasted & seen with all great suggestions from the cheese master.
For more than two decades, the Cheese Master has travelled throughout the French countryside discovering its varied history and culture concerning his favorite topic, cheese. In fact his knowledge about the farms of France is so extensive that sometimes he even knows the name of the goat or cow from which the milk has been drawn. Gérard Poulard has become internationally renowned as the world’s expert in the enjoyment and presentation of the fine cheeses sought after by gourmet dining restaurants in over 22 countries around the world.
Each tasting moved from simple on up to complex from young cheeses to more aged cheeses , from mild flavor to strong flavor – and ending with the Blues (presence of mold) among a selection of Soft cheeses , Blue cheeses, Cow’s and Goat’s milk and Sheeps’s cheeses.
The A.O.C. designation on many of the cheeses guarantees that the French cheese adheres to certain mandated standards, is made using specific traditional techniques and that it has consistent and distinctive flavor, texture and appearance characteristics. (There are plenty of terrific French cheeses which do not carry the A.O.C. designation)
Young, Mild Goat Cheeses; Bloomy Rinds; Double and Triple Crèmes
Brillat Savarin (Cow, Triple Crème, Bloomy Rind)
Crottin de Chèvre (Fresh Goat, soft, 10 days to 6 weeks aging)
Valençay (Fresh Goat, semi soft)
Soft to Semi-Firm; Mild Cow, Aged Goat or Sheep
Brie de Meaux (Cow, Bloomy Rind, Soft)
Cabecou Feuille (Goat, Soft, dipped in Plum Brandy, wrapped in Chestnut Leaves)
Morbier (Cow, Semi soft, natural rind)
Chevrot (Goat, Semi soft, Washed Rind, good starter Goat Cheese)
Hard Mountain Cheeses; Washed Rinds; Stronger Flavors, Nuttier, More-Complex Nuances
Pont-l’Évêque (Cow, Washed Rind, strong taste)
Livarot (Cow, Washed Rind, strong taste)
Roquefort (Sheep, Blue, natural rind, sharp, crumbly, moist)
Fourme d’Ambert (Cow, Blue, natural rind, rich, less sharp)
Bleu d’Auvergne (Cow, Blue, natural rind, rich, medium sharpness)
So many tasting and choices over 58 varieties…Our favorite picks below:
Langres (Cow- Champagne)
The texture of Langres is dense, oozy and creamy with a certain odour to it, but not the kind that makes you cringe.
Roquefort: Aveyron region
The mold makes Roquefort Cheese so special because it determines the texture and the sharp pungency of the fully ripened cheese. Roquefort is one of the most intensely flavored of all French cheeses. Sublime, Sensuous, Sharp and Sexy !
Munster: Alsace, Lorraine and Franche-Comté region
Munster is a soft washed rind cheese made from milk produced by cows Made from unpasteurised cow’s milk, the soft and creamy cheese also comes flavoured with cumin. Munster has a red coating on the rind. Other than protecting the cheese, the rind is also responsible for a strong, penetrating aroma and tangy taste. This cheese has a very high fat content of 45-50%.
Epoisses: Burgundy region
Made by monks in the Abbaye de Citeaux, in the heart of Burgundy. It is a remarkable cheese and follows a complicated traditional making process. Epoisses is one of last cheeses involving milk coagulation in France. The milk is coming from cows which have grazed for three months in the meadows of Burgundy. It has a powerful rich flavor, salty and creamy with a pungent smell.
Livarot: Calvados – Normandy region.
Another excellent washed-rind French cheese which will appeal to those who really love “stinky” cheeses! Livarot is similar to Époisses de Bourgogne and Pont l’Évèque, both of which are available among Gerard’s selection.
We enjoyed the French baguettes with crunchy crusts as well as the artisanal hearty breads, accompaniments of cold cuts, cornichons (little French pickles) , onions, home made pate, salad and salted butter. Gérard Poulard will visit demonstrate his expertise in perfectly arranging the tastes and textures of a wide range of France’s numerous cheeses into various combinations until 24th May 2015. A plethora of excellent cheeses, such as Fourme d’Ambert Laqueuille Memee Aoc, Rigotte de Condrieux, Bouyguette du Segala Romarin, and a lot more not to be missed !
Scarlett Wine Bar & Restaurant
Elegance rooftop bar with a French Twist. Located on the 37th floor of Pullman Bangkok Hotel G Silom. It is thare latest meeting point for young executives who like to have fun and chill out. Scarlett boasts a fine selection of wines along with tapas, daily specials, imported cold cuts and showcasing a large variety of cheeses. 188 Silom Road, Suriyawongse, Bangrak, Bangkok, THAILAND Tel: (+66) 2238 1991 Fax: (+66) 2238 1992