The pleasure of the cheeses of Europe, 6 French cheeses you must try

By Elsie Mendez

The culture of cheese in Europe it has always amazed me, but especially the French cheeses, the world which for me was always complex and difficult to consume, today I opened the door in a more fun and friendly thanks to the Centre National Interprofessionnel de Economy of Dairy (CNIEL, for its acronym in French), which, in cooperation with the European Union, have come to Mexico with a campaign that aims to promote the consumption and enjoyment of the cheeses europeans.

Start in the world of cheese is simple if we leave aside the stigma of “expensive” and “strong flavor”. Now that I’ve started with these exercises, tests and tastings I’ve found that many of those who I considered to be “inedible” just by their color or appearance, have turned out to be soft, delicate, and very tasty. So the first thing we need to do is to break with the paradigms and let the product talk in our mouth, not only through the eyes because the cheeses made by european and French have a lot to offer us and we we can be losing a great time and enjoy culinary judge without experience.

France is the only country in the world that can boast of having more than 1200 dairy products different. The country has around 70,000 dairy farms and 650 processing plants. Many of the products go through different quality controls, including those that are considered the 50 Appellations of Origin of French-Controlled and 46 Appellations of Origin of European Protected.

The typical French (man or woman) will eat a whopping 25.9 kilograms of cheese each year. That is enough to make the French are the biggest consumers of cheese in the world, according to a report of 2013 of the International Dairy Federation. The figure is equivalent to half a kilo a week, or 70 grams a day. For the sake of comparison, americans eat just 15.4 kg per year, and the british, only 11,6 kg, 96 percent of the French eat cheese, the 47 percent did so daily.

There are so many varieties of cheese in France that any you see Charles de Gaulle said “How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”. Big surprise was to take monsieur de Gaulle, if he were alive today, it is estimated that the number of varieties of French cheeses is approximately 400, although with the sub varieties on offer, some statistics say they are more close to a thousand varieties.

It is difficult to find statistics on the exact amount of cheese that is produced each year in France, but some estimates put the figure at 1.8 million tons per year, that is around 57 kilograms per second.

Since we know a little bit more about the importance of cheese in France, this is the list of the 6 French cheeses that are part of the initiative of Cheeses of Europe, and of which I give you more details.


The Brie, maybe one of the French cheeses most familiar and most imitated in the world. It bears the name of where it was originally created: Brie, in the paris region. Several centuries ago, it was one of the tributes that were submitted to the French kings. Its color is pale, with a slight grayish tinge under a rind of white mold. The cheese is made in flat discs of 900 g to 3.2 kg in weight each and are packed in a wooden box. Its characteristic aroma is of almonds and farm. To fully enjoy its flavor, is served at room temperature. Today there are many varieties of Brie cheese including: Brie de Meaux, Brie de Melun, Brie, smooth and with a variety of herbs. There are also Bries with double and triple cream.

The right way to save it is in a dark place, cool and angry. The refrigerator in the crisper of vegetables or cold meats it is a good option and leave it in its box or in a resealable bag.

By its texture is soft and creamy cheese is a mild flavor and rich in aroma. This cheese can be enjoyed alone, but also melted in an omelet or as a companion to salad or desserts. This can be accompanied with pears, or use it in cakes. Pairing: Disfrutenlo with red wines light and fruity, or fresh white wines. If you are a beer these must be robust. It also carries well with distilled spirits.


The Camembert is one of the crown jewels of the French gastronomy. This is a cheese with a white rind and soft, made from cow’s milk, mainly from cattle breed Normande. Is the diet of these cows responsible for its characteristic flavor. Its interior goes from ivory to light yellow. When fully ripe, its interior is soft, smooth and shiny, sometimes has small holes in the paste. It has an aroma of milk characteristic and a pronounced touch to mushrooms, creamy and complex, with notes of fresh grass. The taste of the Camembert is slightly salty.

To save it should put it back in its wooden box in the drawer of the vegetables or meats cold from the refrigerator.

This cheese is ideal as an ingredient in sauces creamy, a sofufflé or a quiche. For consistency, melts on toast and can be placed directly in the oven with herbs and olive oil.

The best pairing for these cheeses is a cider, a pilsner beer or a champagne, lambruso or fino Sherry. A pomace of grapes or a pisco, can accompany very well also.


The Comté is presented as a great wheel that can weigh up to 50 kg and for their development they require 400 to 500 L of milk. It is a cheese with a rind the color beige which it acquires hardness and thickness increased with maturation. Its paste is firm, ivory-colored and may have some eyes isolated. Its aroma reminiscent of melted butter, hazelnuts and caramel, sometimes you can present notes of leather, pepper and black chocolate. After the completion of your preparation, the tuning can be from 4 to more than 24 months.

In the selection of the Comté, is qualifies each batch of 1 to 20, depending on their taste, texture and appearance. Cheeses with a score of 15 points or more receive the green label Comté Extra; 12 to 15 points, you can get the label coffee Comté: while the cheeses that receive a score lower than 12 are not eligible to display the label.

The right way to preserve it is in a resealable bag in the back of the refrigerator. To serve him is to take him out at least two hours before (it is the same for all cheeses) to unfold their aromas and flavours to the maximum. This also allows you to regain its original texture.

To consume, for its fruity taste and low acidéz, this cheese combines with sweet or savoury. It is perfect on pasta, salads or preparations of mexican dishes, as a few muffins. In sandwiches, in fondue, or grated on your favorite dishes.

To accompany it we recommend a dry white wine, a barolo, cabernet sauvignon, or wheat beers.


At present, the Emmental is produced in almost any place of France. One of their most notorious characteristics is the presence of holes, also called “eyes”, distributed in the pasta. These are the result of fermentation in a wine cellar is relatively warm. The Emmental is one of the cheeses largest in the world. Each of the wheels of the cheese flattened is made by hand with 1200 litres of unpasteurized milk. The cheese flavor is spicy, slightly woodsy and slightly salty. Its aroma is slightly fruity, somewhat floral and reminds you to the green pastures.

The ideal way to save it is to wrap it with waxed paper.

To cook the cheese emmental is ideal in a sandwich or a burger. It is a very good companion for an omelet, cauliflower soup, for filling croissants or bisquets or as part of a short pasta such as rigatoni.

It is the ideal companion of the avocado, beets and mushrooms. In emmental goes really well with the vegetarles in general.

The pairing suggested is with grape wine chardonnay, riesling, merlot, or a brandy. The wheat beers or the hops intense and distillates such as vodka or tequila.


The Mimolette is a cheese produced traditionally in the city of Lille in northern France. Normally weighs about 2 kg and is made from cow’s milk. Its name comes from the French word molle, which means soft. The greyish bark of the Mimolette is the result of mites, which are introduced intentionally to add flavor to interact with its surface. The pasta is dyed in a dye, dark orange, which comes from the natural powder of the seed of the plant of the achiote, an ingredient of Latin american origin added during the manufacturing process. Its period of maturation is of at least six weeks. After six months, the cheeses are termed demi vieille and after a year of maturation is named vieille. If this cheese has been matured for more than twenty-four months is known as extra-vielle. Its texture varies from soft to firm depending on their age. Its flavor is slightly salty; when the cheese is young, the flavor is light and buttery, but becomes more persistent and it takes flavors, smoked, caramel and bacon as mature.

To keep it should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in waxed paper or under a cover glass.

Grapes, pork loin, hazelnuts, carrots, or pumpkins are ideal companions for this cheese.

To cook cheese mimolette recommended for use in salads or as an aperitif. It is also a good ingredient to make muffins or cookies, as well as for cooking au gratin shrimp or fish.

The pairing for this cheese is with a Porto wine, chianti or any liquor of fruits like peach or pear. Distilled spirits such as gin and beers of malta toasts are perfect.

Blue cheese

The cheese that is promoted in this campaign is a Blue obtained from cow’s milk. During the process of development, used moulds of the type Penicillium, which will give the cheese a texture and a flavor characteristic. The presence of fungi gives rise to its blue color, and gray-green. Its taste is strong and slightly salty, and it increases in intensity with the time of maturation. Usually have a soft texture that makes them perfect as a spread, to melt or to make sauces.

The blue cheese most known are: Bleu d’auvergne, Fourmé d Ambert and Bleu de Bresse.

To save it is recommended to store it in the compartment for vegetables in the refrigerator for a maximum of three weeks.

The blue cheese is served with crackers, crisp, pear, honey and hazelnuts. Just like camembert and brie, blue cheese combines very well with jelly.

The blue cheese is a perfect complement to salads or served with apple slices. The Bleu d’auvergne is also great on burgers, pastries or pies.

The wine pairing is recommended for the blue cheese is with white wine style Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. A red wine with robust grape Syrah, a sweet wine or a beer Bock.

To learn and understand more I encourage you to visit the link of Cheeses of Europe , where you will find recipes, calendar of events and much more. Also you can follow on your social networks Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as @quesosdeeuropa