June 17, 2013

CHEESEBOARD FAVOURITES

cheeseboard1 As one person who commented on my blog at Easter said, if the weather in France is bad, at least you still have the food.

One of the great joys of any kind of self-catering holiday in France is the opportunity to indulge in favourite foods and for us one of the greatest joys of all is the cheese.

cheeseboard2All of these cheeses are firm favourites of ours and in fact this lot were bought in the local supermarket.  The selection in any supermarket is huge and buying cheese becomes even more of an adventure if you go to the local markets.

On the left there is Morbier, a cow’s milk cheese with a layer of ash in the middle from the Franch-Comté region of France.  I like it because it’s creamy with not too strong a flavour.

The pyramid shaped cheese is from Valençay in the Loire Valley and is a goat’s cheese with a slightly sharp flavour with a mould and ash coating.

Next along is Vieux Pané, a cow’s milk cheese which has a tendency to become runny and rather pungent (in an old sock sense) when it has been open for a while.

cheeseboard3

At the bottom in this picture is Maroilles, a cow’s milk cheese from northern France with a higher pong factor than all the others.  I love it, Nick is not so keen and it’s the cheese that will make your fridge or car smell distinctly cheesy in a very short time.

Last but not least, in the middle we have Sainte-Maure goat’s cheese made just up the road in Le Petit-Pressigny.  This is Nick’s absolute favourite and is the cheese that is served everywhere, every day in this area.  Well, almost.  It’s the one that you have grilled on pieces of toasted baguette in the classic “salade du chèvre chaud”, the ever popular starter or lunch dish that we all love.  And which in fact we will be eating ourselves as a light supper in only a few minutes, which is as long as it takes to make.

This particular one is fairly hard with an ash coating and grills nicely.  There are other, softer versions and indeed you can ask for it young and soft or fairly mature if you go to the cheese stall on the market.

Usually we buy this kind of selection of cheese to start off our holiday and will add others as the days go on, usually trying something we have never tried before.  After all, life is an adventure or nothing – so many cheeses, so little time !!

12 comments:

  1. Yes, but you haven't got a blob of my DIY goat's cheese! But I do agree with you about the French cheeses. When we lived in the Uk I just bought cheap and cheerful 'off the supermarket shelf' cheese, but since being in France I have changed that attitude and have developed a new taste for cheese.

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  2. I don't think there is a cheese I do not like but Nigel will not eat goats cheese! Keep well Diane

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  3. Since we bought a house in the Touraine I am getting to like goat's cheese, something I would at one time have avoided.

    On balance some of my favourite cheeses come from the Auvergne - St Nectaire fermier, Cantal, Fourme d'Ambert. Another 'socky' cheese is Epoisses.

    I think this post could run...

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  4. I really enjoyed reading this Jean. I don't eat that much cheese but I do like it and the deli next to me at work always has a great selection but probably not the fab selections that they have in France. Lovely post. PS: had a great phone chat with Nick the other night.

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  5. Looks like we have the same taste in cheese! Morbier is by far my favourite! And like Gaynor, I like a nice St. Nectaire and Cantal. Oh, and don't get me started on the goat cheeses! :-) Martine

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  6. I like goats cheese too as a result of living in France. If you see a Corsican cheese in the supermarket called Corsu Vecchio (spelling might not be 100%) it's very worth trying.

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  7. You temptress Jean... Still sticking to low amounts of fat after the op!!! C

    WV is "unitmnt Education" which you have done!

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  8. Oh yum, Jean! You've whetted my appetite for our first shop when we get to France next week. The one thing France doesn't do so well in the cheese line is a proper hard cheese, which is why we always take a selection of traditional English cheeses for our next-door neighbour who adores them. :-)

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  9. Of this I am the most mad-jealous. Real proper cheese is one of life's greatest pleasures. What passes for cheese here is terrible, like comparing hothouse tomatoes in January to homegrown in August.

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  10. Jean, "mouldy" to describe a cheese's crust sounds so much less appetizing that the French: une croûte fleurie — a "flowery" crust. I think the local Valençay, Sainte-Maure, and Selles-sur-Cher goat milk cheeses all have the same kind of crust (ash and salt).

    Have you tried Pouligny-Saint-Pierre? It's local too, and is like a Valençay without the ash.

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  11. Wow. All those ash coatings are fascinating. I suppose that means the next time I drop my marshmallow into the roasting fire, I can still eat it, ash and all.

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  12. Wow. I had forgotten about how much good cheese there is in France. Along with the good wines. You've made me terribly hungry, but it's too early to disturb the house by making breakfast.

    GRRRRRrrrrr said the very hungry, irritated Bear.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting
    Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)

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