10 famous French cheeses
Cheese for the French is the subject of national pride and symbol of the country, like a Hamon for the Spaniards, the pasta for the Italians or black bread for Russian. Naturally, cheese is the first to popular with a gift from France for tourists. In this article, we will tell about the types and ten most famous varieties of French cheeses, we give prices and give a lot of useful tips.
Cheese and France
Talk about the importance of cheese for France and French. It is much clearer and more interesting to show it with the help of numbers:
– In France, 1.8 million tons of cheese are produced per year – 57 kilograms per second;
– Middle Frenchman per year seats 27.2 kilograms of cheese, for comparison Russian only 5.7 kilograms. However, the French are the fourths in the world, they are ahead of the Danes, Icelanders and Finns;
– Every year, the French sell cheese for 3 billion euros to other countries;
– In France, about 400 varieties of cheese, and varieties numbered about 1200.
Classification of French cheese
Cheeses in France are divided into three large "families":
– Pressed (or solid);
According to technology distinguish: boiled and no. In the first case, in the process of cooking, the cheese is thermal processing.
At the place of manufacture are divided into:
– Fermier (Fermier). Produced on a farm from milk from the same farm;
– Handmade (Artisanal). Produced small amounts of milk from local farms;
– Cooperative (Cooperative). Produced by the efforts of several local farms;
– Industrial (Industriel). Industrial production.
Cheeses can be marked with PDO or AOC signs.
What is PDO or AOC?
AOC and PDO are the system of confirmation of the product. AOC is a French system, PDO – pan-European.
Speaking with simple words, the AOC sign means that this cheese was made strictly in a certain area of France and strictly according to the "correct" technology. For example, AOC sign on Rokfort Cheese confirms that it is made in the province of Averon, in the vicinity of the city of Rocca, from milk of local sheep of a certain breed and using Penicillium Roqueforti Mold from local caves. On French laws, only such cheese has the right to be called "Rokfort".
AOC system in France is protected by 40 grades of cheese. In addition to cheeses, AOC system applies to wines, oils, spirits, honey and several more agricultural products.
In Russia, the EU laws do not act, and our country has not joined such systems "guarantees of origin". Therefore, in the shelves of our stores you can find both Roquefort, and Brie, and Camembert Russian production. It is a pity that our analogues are not very close to the original French cheeses.
Rating 10 the best and famous
We made up their rating of the most famous cheeses of France. It is they who need to try first of all to feel the real spirit of this country. Interestingly, some varieties smell so brightly that the phrase "feel the Spirit" can be understood literally.
10th place – Delice (Delive)
Soft semi-fruit cheese from Burgundy, produced from cow’s milk. The name is translated as "pleasure".
It has a bright creamy taste due to the addition of cream in the cooking process. From other cream varieties, Delive has a white crust of mold Penicilium Candidum.
This is one of the youngest varieties in France, in 1975 by Jean Lynzet. Since then, it is made by its company fromagerie lincet.
Sold by large cylinders for 2 kilograms. The price of such packaging in France – 25-40 euros. Can be found in the form of small cylinders weighing 200 grams, the price is 3-4 euros.
9th place – Livarot (Livaro)
Soft cheese from Normandy, produced from cow milk. Named Komunen Livaro, and only in this Commune can be made. The name is protected by AOC system.
Livaro variety famous thanks to colorful appearance. Bright orange color crust gives an Anato dye. Cheese cylinder wrapped five leaves of the root, for which Livaro received the nickname "Colonel", by analogy with 5 stripes on the chains of the colonel of the Army of France.
Like any cooperative cheese, Livaro is produced in limited quantities – about 1000 tons per year. Buy it in stores is difficult.
Sold with packages for 350 or 500 grams. Price for 350 grams – 6-8 euros.
8th place – Mimolette (mimolet)
Semi-solid cheese from the city of Lille, produced from cow’s milk. This is a favorite presidential cheese of Charles de Gaulle. The name went from the French "Mi-Molla", translates as "semi-soft".
The mimolep looks like not very presentable – the crust of gray, the texture of the peel is a little porous. Inside it looks great – bright orange color is obtained by abundant anato impurities.
The mimole varies according to the degree of excerpt – from the young (from 2 months) to the old (up to 24 months). Young taste is something like parmesan, the old bright nut taste. With age, the mimole becomes very hard.
The mimole is traditionally manufactured not in the form of a cylinder, but in the form of a ball. Weight – 2 kilograms, price – 60-80 euros.
Attention! Cork gray is formed under the action of special cheese ticks. It is because of these ticks a mimoled banned in the US. In order not to risk, we recommend cut off the crust and use only orange core.
7th place – Munster (Münster)
Soft cheese from the mountains of the Vogza in the regions of Alsace, Lorraine and Franche Conte. Produced from cow’s milk. The name is given by the name of the city of Münster in Alsace.
The name is protected by the AOC system, about 40 farms have the right to produce cheese called "Münster".
Münster grade is famous above all the strongest odor. The smell creates the crust of cheese, which is washed with brine in the process of preparation every two days. From this munster called "raw" or "washed" by a variety.
This is one of the few French cheeses that can be used with beer. Munster make a famous dish of French cuisine – "Munstetsky Tartiflett". This is casserole of potatoes, onions, bacon and cheese Münster.
Munster is made in the form of flat cylinders. In a small embodiment – diameter 7-13 cm, 3 cm thickness, weight 400-450 grams. In a large variant – diameter 14-19 cm, thickness 5 cm, weight of about 2.5 kilograms.
Price – 20-25 euros per kilogram.
6th place – Cantal (Cantal)
Solid or half-solid cheese from the area of the Overlin in Central France, the name named Mountains Cantal and the same district in these mountains.
Cantal cheese is made from milk cows breed "Salers", and only from winter milk (obtained from mid-November to mid-April), when cows feed on with hay. From the summer milk of cows of this breed, another cheese is made – the Salers variety.
Cantal is found in two versions: Cantal Fermier (Farmer) and Cantal Laitier (industrial). Of these, only Cantal Fermier is protected by AOC system.
According to the degree of maturity, the Cantal happens:
– Young (Cantal Jeune), ripening time from 30 to 60 days, it is a semi-solid cheese with a sweet milk taste;
– Mature (Cantal Entre-Deux), from 60 to 180 days, still semi-solid with creamy taste;
– Old (Cantal Vieux), from 180 days, already solid with spicy taste.
More than 80% of Cantal produced refers to young and mature species. Old cantal is almost impossible to buy in ordinary stores, you need to contact specialized cheese shops or order via the Internet. By the way, in France, there are not so many Cantal – about 14,000 tons per year.
Cantal is often used in salads and for cooking fondue and grants.
Traditionally, cantal is prepared in large cylinders, the weight of each 40-45 kilogram. Now there is a "Petit" version – 15-20 kilograms and the version "Cantalet" – 8-10 kilograms. Naturally, they sell cantal sliced pieces. Price 14-20 euros per kilogram.
Attention! Cork Cheese Cantal is obtained using microscopic cheese ticks. We recommend cut off the crust, there is only the core.
5th place – Comte (Conte)
Semi-solid cheese from the Franches-Corte region in the east of France. Produced from milk cows breed "Montbeliard" and "Simmental".
Corte’s grade is protected by the AOC system, this is the most massive AOC cheese in France – 64,000 tons per year (the latest data from 2016). About 200 farms have the right to produce.
Distinguish "Comte" (brown label) and "Comte Extra" (green label). The status of a particular party of cheese is assigned by a special commission. By the way, the same commission can reject cheese, and then he cannot be called "Comte" at all.
Distinguish the Winter and Summer Conte. Summer when cows feed on pastures, it turns out a saturated yellow color, has a rich flower bouquet of tastes. Winter in color is close to ivory, taste gives a little by hay. The use of dyes in the manufacturing technology is categorically prohibited.
Taste influence: microregion of origin, season, weather conditions and conditions of microclimate in basements, where the cheese ripened. It is believed that the defense has a different taste in each party and in each farm, that there are no two disks with the same taste.
Conte cheese is prepared in disks, diameter – 40-70 cm, thickness – 9-13 cm, weight – 35-55 kilograms. In stores, contacts are sold by sliced pieces, usually packs of 300 grams, or can cut the right amount.
Conte matures from 4 to 24 months. Distinguish: Jeune (young, 4-9 months), Fruite (fruit, 9-18 months), Vieux (old, 18-24 months). Approximate prices – 20, 30 and 40 euros per kilogram.
4th place – Emmental Francais (French Emmental)
Emmental Cheese from Switzerland, but the French produce their version of "Emmental Francais". The scale of production is 240,000 tons per year, it is about 7.5% of all cheese in France.
French Emmental is produced in several areas of the country, most of all in Frannd-Corre, Rhone-Alpes and Savoy.
The best species are considered "Emmental East-Central Label Rouge" (excerpt from 12 weeks) and Emmental de Savoie (made in Savoy, excerpt from 10 weeks).
Emmental is famous for the whole world with his holes, which in the emmental of high quality should be the size of nuts and evenly distributed. For a long time, "Mystery of holes in cheese" existed – it was unknown, where these holes come from. However, in 2015 in Bern (Switzerland) at the Agroscope Research Center disclosed this mystery. The case in the smallest parties of the hay, which fall into the milk, and during fermentation of cheese, gases are distinguished.
Traditionally, emmal is prepared in large circles with a diameter of 75 centimeters and weighing 70-80 kilograms. Sold by pieces, usually 250 grams, sliced and packed at the factory. Or large circles cut in stores, and cut the desired size.
Price – 8-10 euros per kilogram.
3rd place – Roquefort (Roquefort)
Famous French semi-soft cheese with blue noble mold. The variety is protected by the AOC system, the real Rokfort is prepared in the south of France, in areas around the Commune Rokfort Sur Sulzon, Region Averon.
Produced from milk sheep rock "LAKON", added mold Penicillium roqueforti. Cheese turns out crumbly, white in color, with a smooth texture. The taste is salty and sharp, but very tasty. The French call him "cheese of kings and beggars", thereby showing that the taste of the product is worthy of kings, and the price is acceptable for everyone.
There is a legend about the invention of rocofor. The young shepherd stopped dine bread and cheese, but saw a girl and ran to meet. Dinner he prudently hidden in a local cave. Apparently, acquaintance for him was very successful, since he forgot about dinner completely. I remembered only a few months later, but at this point in the cheese he had already penetrated the mold Penicillium roqueforti. With mold cheese was even tastier.
Now in the Averon region, only 7 enterprises have the right to make Rokfort, the largest and most famous of them – Roquefort Societe, even carry tourists on excursions. Rocofor production in France small – 15-20 thousand tons per year.
Roquefort are prepared by large wheels: a diameter of 19-20 centimeters, a thickness of 9-10 centimeters, weighing 2,5-3 kilograms.
Price of the real AOC Rocochet – 35-50 euros per kilogram.
2nd place – Brie (BR)
Soft cheese with a crust of white noble mold. Manufactured from cow’s milk. Named by the name of the BRIE region in the east of Paris.
Now in France, there are several dozen podobov BR, and not only in Il de France (Paris region), but also in other parts of the country.
AOC system is protected by only two subspecies: Brie De Mo (Brie De Meaux) and Brie De Melun. Both of these subspecies are far from mass, to buy them is problematic.
Brie de Mo traditionally manufactured by large circles: diameter 35 centimeters, 3 centimeter thickness, weight – 2.8-3 kilograms. Production volume – only 6-7 thousand tons.
Brie de Melong meets even less often, annual production volume – only about 250 tons per year. Such cheese is better to search in cheese boutiques.
Brie de Melong is made in circles: a diameter of about 27 centimeters, weight – about 1.5 kilograms. Brie de Melong is characterized by a crust with red splashes.
More Bole is a rare option – this is Brie de Meloon in the form of Brie Noir (Black Brie), this is a bribe cheese with a high exposure – from 2 months to year. It is believed that his taste and fragrance the brightest.
Bring brie cheese from France home – it’s not easy. The fact is that Bree is very soft, and in it very quickly spread bacteria and mold. BIR is recommended only in the refrigerator at a temperature of + 4- + 2 degrees. It is believed that if he was heated, it was already lost a delicate taste and aroma. Naturally, in an airplane during the flight home, the refrigerator will not be.
Manufacturers strongly recommend to eat brie for a maximum of the week after ripening. Although the shelf life of the brie – 6-8 weeks, after a week he loses taste, begins to be pattering. Attention! See production time, buy only the most recent brie.
The price of ordinary (mass) brie in France – 7-9 euros per kilogram. For Brie de Meaux – 20-30 euros per kilogram, for Brie de Melun – 25-35 euros per kilogram.
1st place – Camembert (Camembert)
World famous soft cheese from Camembert in Normandy in the north of France. Manufactured from cow’s milk.
The AOC system is protected by only one subspecies of Camembert – this is "Camembert de Normandie", it is produced in small quantities – only about 5,000 tons per year. The reason for this very hard requirements for AOC. CameMbert de Normandie can be prepared only from fresh milk. Other subspecies are prepared from pasteurized milk. Camember Le Chatel is very good.
The first feature of Camumbert is a form. Unlike all previous cheeses that are preparing large circles (wheels), cylinders or balls, Camaber cheese make in small packages. Typical size: diameter – about 10 centimeters, thickness of about 3 centimeters, weight of about 250 grams.
Carrying Camembert is most convenient, over time he only gains taste and aroma. He may well lie down without refrigerator.
The smell of Camembert is his famous feature, and the subject of numerous jokes. The smell is formed by a whole bouquet of substances. Among them and isovalarian acid, which "answers" behind the smell of sweat. When they say that Camembert smells like non-socks, it is pure truth.
Another distinctive feature of Kamumbert is a white crust that Penicillium Camemberti mold forms. Until the 20th century, when scientists learned to control the mold, no white crust for Camumbert was. The crust was blue-gray or brown. Now white crust is a standard. Cork is completely edible.
It is believed that Camembert invented a woman named Marie Haren. A priest came to her from the city of Brie and shared secrets of the production of brie cheese. Marie decided to make his version. To the French culture, Camambube tightly entered during the First World War, when this cheese was introduced into the soldier’s paja.
Price for Camembert De Normandie AOC – 6-7 Euro per package 250 grams. The rest of the varieties can cost from 1.5 to 6 euros, the spread here is a huge.
Interesting notes and facts
– Generation, whose childhood had to be 90s, know the name "Rokfort", although few people tried this cheese and even saw. But everyone remembers the animated series "Chip and Dale", where the name of one of the characters, who obviously suffered from the dependence on cheese;
– Generation 2010 will be much better knowing Camembert. This is a favorite pet cheese (Quan) Flak from the animated series "Lady Bag and Super Cat";
– If you get a calculator and go to the nearest Russian supermarket, you will find a striking fact – Russian analogues (import substitution) of French cheeses are not cheaper, but even more expensive than originals!
– If it was aimed to buy some particular variety during a trip to France, we advise not to run and search for shopping, but to order in a French online store. Fortunately, there are very many in France. Use the roadbliver in the browser;
– Not any cheese and not in any quantity can be brought to Russia. Read the details in our article "What can not and can be removed from France".
Pleasant tasting of French cheeses, and read our interesting articles about France (Links below).