I love a good cheese plate. Can I classify that as a favorite past time? I like to think so :}
Before this trip I had a few cheeses that were my go to at the cheese counter. Something similar to Manchengo please! How about a stinky cheese? Brie? But nothing specific enough that lead to passionate, excitable discussions with the cheese-monger. So I decided since we had more time than usual to dig into France, I was going to learn more about the regional cheeses. So far, unsurprisingly, I have not been dissapointed...
An endless sea of beautiful cheese
I started a list for myself of my favorite cheeses by area so I would remember to look for them in the future. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather just my top hits:
Loire Valley: (1) Crottin de Chavignol -- little rounds of firm goat cheese heaven (2) Selles-sur-cher -- great goat cheese noticeable by the ash covered rind (3) Olivet Cendré -- Soft, smooth cheese with another ash type rind in various forms; cow cheese this time (4) Bucheron -- a goat cheese in the shape of a cylinder, solid choice
Bourgogne: (1) Epoisses de Bourgogne -- guaranteed to stink up your fridge, but oh so tasty (2) Brillat-Savarin -- the richest cheese I have ever tasted; appropriately named the "foie gras" of cheeses (3) Comte -- my fav; I have two different kinds in the fridge; its easier to find in the states (4) Délice de Bourgogne -- Smooth, creamy, delicious (5) Soumaintrain -- if you like pugnant, stinky cheese, this is your sure winner; holy smokes
Alsace: (1) Bambois -- fluffy clouds of some of the yummiest goat cheese (2) Bargkas -- this cheese could pair with almost anything; it is not the cheese to make you question your faith, but it is not too boring, not too crazy (3) Munster -- the king of Alsacian cheeses, it even has it's own AOP; A bit stinky, creamy and musty (4) Ribeaupierre -- Creamy, mushroomy, solid
If the pictures and descriptions aren't enough to convince you, then the cost of buying them in France should -- As an example, Epoisses at Murray's Cheese in NYC sells for $27 a round as compared to 5 euros (or at the current exchange rate just under $6) at the local store in Beaune. For what you spend on a plane ticket, you can make up the price difference by eating lots of cheese!
One last point to leave you on is when ordering the the typical menu du jour at a local cafe, you are often given the choice between fromage or dessert (or both if you upgrade to menu du gourmande!)... Pour moi, toujours (always) fromage!
Yet another reason to visit France, come for the cheese. In the wise words of this chalk board...
Your honor, I rest my case.
Like this post? Want to read more about Travis and Nicole's travel adventures? Check out The Case For France - The French Markets.
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