With National Cheese Day taking place this week, I thought I would share my three favourite French cheeses with you.
You might ask how I can only have three favourites when there are so many to choose from in France. As Charles de Gaulle once said: “How can anyone govern a nation that has 246 different kinds of cheese?”
It was a tough job, but these are my top three:
The Franco-Basque cheese made from sheep milk is traditionally eaten with black cherry jam (mainly because the Basque Country produces a lot of black cherries). However, I prefer it with blackcurrant jam which adds a lovely acidic touch. Its name reflects its South-Western France origin, the Ossau Valley in Béarn and the Irati Forest in the Basque Country.
Camembert au Calvados
Also known as Calva d’Auge, this one is a Norman cheese from the Lower Normandy region of France. I know Camembert is quite common but this one soaked in Calvados brandy for a few hours is excellent. Highly recommended!
Sainte-Maure de Touraine
The Loire Valley goat cheese is log shape and rolled in wood ash. A lovely soft cheese with a slightly salty and nutty taste with a walnut aroma.
Unlike the English, we don’t have chutneys with cheese in France, just bread. It is always baguette or pain de campagne (country bread) and served with red wine.
However, I do now prefer to eat cheese with crackers rather than bread. I think it’s lighter. Or am I slowly getting into British habits having lived here for almost six years?