Posts tagged " cheese "

Celebrate Wine and Cheese Day with some usual pairings

July 20th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

As the ‘Grand Fromage’ of The French Chef at Home, you’d expect me to have firm opinions on both cheese and wine!

With Wine and Cheese Day coming up (25 July), I’m celebrating by sharing just a few of my favourite pairings with you.

As mentioned in a previous blog, we were delighted to discover that Yorkshire takes its cheeses as seriously as we do in France.  And a good cheese demands a good wine.

I like to support other local businesses.  When I’m not visiting France to buy my wines directly from the producer, I source most of my cheese and wine from Minskip Farm Shop http://minskipfarmshop.com/ which has a small but extensive fresh food market. Much of the produce Ben and Emma stock is sourced from within 30 miles of the shop and all the wines mentioned below can be found there.

My new favourite cheese is the soft and creamy Yorkshire Brie and I like to pair it with a dry, yet fruity Niel Joubert Pinotage from South Africa.  A ripe plum flavour with slight smoky trace, the wine has a dry finish with ripe berry and spice notes.

Closer to home, Château de Brague is a superior red Bordeaux that works well with a rich cheese.  With its Merlot-based aroma and berry flavours, it’s perfect with Camembert au Calvados, a cheese produced in Lower Normandy that is marinated in Calvados brandy.

But it’s not only red wine that works with cheese.

Other great pairings include Picpoul de Pinet, a dry white, from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region. The name means ‘lip stinger’ because of the wine’s zingy freshness.  With aromas of blossom, Picpoul is comparable to the better-known Muscadet from the Loire Valley and represents excellent value. Its high acidity means it cuts through rich foods including creamy, firm cheeses made from sheep’s milk such as Ossau Iraty, another product of France’s South West.

Finally, a bone dry and aromatic Loire Valley Sancerre will perfectly complement the rich flavours of Sainte-Maure de Touraine, an unpasteurised full fat goat’s milk cheese rolled in wood ash.

 

Championing Yorkshire cheese and small producers

June 26th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

As a family, we love our cheese.

My wife Anne originates in the French Basque Country whose people are well-versed in safeguarding tradition. Nowhere is this more true than their food which plays a key role in Basque identity. In particular, people are passionate about their home-produced cheeses which they’ve grown up eating.

In France, as in Britain, we take protection of our cheeses seriously. Roquefort, was the first cheese to be protected by Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (certification based on the concept of terroir) in 1925 – although it has been regulated by a parliamentary decree since 1411!. Since then, more than 40 cheeses have achieved AOC status, including Ossau-Iraty from the Basque Country.

On arrival in Yorkshire, we were delighted to discover that our shared history following the Norman invasion and subsequent influx of expert cheese making Cistercian monks, meant that the area has a rich history of cheese production.

This legacy lives on today in a wide selection of established cheeses including two afforded protected status (Swaledale Cheese and Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese) as well as smaller Yorkshire producers making traditional cheese with milk from their own herds such as Lacey’s Cheese, Lowna Dairy and Ribblesdale.

Our latest favourite cheese is the new Wensleydale Yorkshire Brie, a soft and creamy British alternative to the French classic. Made from Yorkshire milk, the cheese has a deliciously silky texture and is delicious served with a crusty baguette (and a dollop of cherry or blackcurrant jam for Anne – but that’s a whole other story).

A trio of my favourite cheeses

June 7th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

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:


Ossau-Iraty

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?