When in Paris, one eats indulgent sweet pastries and excellent bread, one drinks sublime French wines, and one simply MUST try as many popular French cheeses as possible. New to cheese tasting? France is the perfect destination to develop your cheese palette, and experience an entirely new culinary facet. Here are some great cheeses to try on your next trip to Paris.
Popular French Cheeses – Camembert
Originally produced in Camembert, Normandy, in the late 18th century, Camembert has become a favorite in both France and the rest of the world. A soft, creamy, sun-ripened cheese made from cow’s milk, Camembert cheese has an earthy, mushroom aroma, and when ripe it simply melts in your mouth. When tasting Camembert in Paris, try pairing it with a French Chenin Blanc or Champagne to bring out its flavor. For a more casual enjoyment of this beloved French cheese, feast on fresh baguettes topped with Camembert at an outdoor picnic.
Famous Cheese in Paris – Brie & Brie Noir
Brie is also a soft, creamy cow’s milk cheese similar to Camembert, but it is typically made in larger wheels than the latter cheese, and ripened more slowly. The taste is also quite different–brie is significantly milder, as it is typically sold in slices cut from the larger wheel, meaning the rind is not always present. The rind is what gives Camembert its distinctly pungent aroma and stronger taste. There is also brie noir, which is aged for quite a bit longer than usual–this intensifies the taste and smell of the cheese, and gives it a characteristic dark appearance. When cheese tasting in Paris, you absolutely have to try Brie and Brie Noir.
Cheese Tasting Paris – Beaufort
Beaufort is a firm, raw cow’s milk cheese that is similar to cheeses of the Swiss Gruyere cheese family. It has a distinctly concave shape from being cast in a beechwood hoop or mold, and it is stored on spruce shelves during maturation for about a month or two. The cheese is a pale yellow, without holes, and has a smooth and creamy texture. It has a very distinct aroma and taste that some say is reminiscent of the pastures in which the cows (from whose milk the cheese is made) graze in the French Alps.
Cheese and Wine Tasting – Munster
Originally from the Alsace town of Munster, the cheese of the same name was first produced by mountain cattle herders and then stored and matured by Vosgian monks in abbey cellars. In addition to its charming history, Munster is special in that the production process is quite complicated, and the end product is sold unwrapped on a straw bed. The rind is slick and light red, and the cheese itself has a very strong smell and taste. Pair a white wine like Gruner Veltliner with this exceptional cheese for a truly memorable taste experience.
French Artisan Cheeses – Roquefort
Roquefort is a sheep’s milk blue cheese made in the south of France. The “true” Roquefort is unique in that to be sold under the name, Roquefort cheeses must be aged in the natural Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, where the special mold is found. The cheese is semi-hard, slightly moist, and has distinctive veins of green mold that give it a sharp tang. It has no rind, and the taste is very complex, ranging from a sweet and mild initial flavor, to smoky, to a slightly salty final taste. Despite its complex flavor-range, Roquefort is one of the most popular French cheeses available today.
Popular French Cheese – Crottin de Chavignol
Crottin de Chavignol hails from a tiny town in the Loire Valley in central France. It is a small cylindrical goat’s cheese with the appearance of a ball of slightly dry dough. Its flavor is subtle and nutty, and it ages extremely well. As it matures, the previously white rind turns crumbly and turns a bluish color. Pair this tiny package of flavor with a lovely Sancerre wine made in the same region. It is also fantastic served as dessert with fruit, chocolate, and a sweet dessert wine–no matter what your cuisine preferences dictate, Crottin de Chavignol pairs wonderfully with nearly all food in France.
Cruise the City of Lights Cheese Causeway with Auto Europe
Now that you’ve had time to scope out all the incredible cheese and wine pairing options in France, why not embark on a road trip through France to enjoy them all? With a little help from Auto Europe you can be on your way to Paris with ease. Give us a call today, toll-free at 1-888-223-5555, and speak to one of our reservations agents to book hotel accommodations, international airfare, car rentals, and more!