While Globe Bleu can arrange cheese tastings or even a private Chef to introduce you to the traditional cheeses of France live and in-person, consider this a virtual French cheese tour. Unfortunately you’ll have to imagine the delicious flavors!
France is known for its rich cheese-making heritage, often complimentary with its rich wine-making heritage. Classics like Brie, Roquefort, Camembert, and so many more are staples in kitchens around the world. Often these fromages are representative of a different region and its respective culture, climate, and traditions.
Many of these cheeses earn the uniquely French designation of “appellation controlée,” meaning that only the cheeses of a specific animal or region may bear the cheese type’s official title. For example, a Roquefort is a product of only one single breed of sheep, the “Lacaune.” You may be familiar with this restriction in the wine industry – only wines produced by grapes from the Champagne region of France may be labeled as “Champagne.” Imitator sparkling wines may not use the capitalized C of Champagne.
If you’re visiting the Alpine region of France, here you’ll find that sharing a cheese-based meal is a way of life and a communal affair. Fondue is probably the most well-known of these shared meals, popularized in American culture and even inspiring its own restaurant chain. White wine and a good melting cheese co-mingle to produce an incredible, rich flavor sensation that is best when accented with bits of crusty bread, fruits and vegetables. When the weather outside is frightful, what could be more comforting than a warm, bubbling pot of traditional fondue au fromage?
Enjoying fondue, however, is not without its own typically French standards of etiquette. These unwritten rules (as interpreted by Bon Appetit magazine) include the cardinal “DON’T DOUBLE DIP!” as well as the less obvious: 1) only stir clockwise (supposedly keeps the cheese from clumping); 2) twirling the long, stringy strands of cheese around your bread cube is A-OK; 3) feel free to scrape off the crusted cheese remnants at the base of the pot; and 4) cheese fondue followed by chocolate fondue is a gastrointestinal nightmare – eat pineapple instead to counterbalance the cholesteral-rich, creamy cheese.
Globe Bleu can also arrange for you and your travel companions to enjoy a typical Alpine meal of raclette, a mass-produced cheese designed specifically for a raclette, a tabletop griddle placed in the middle of the dining surface not unlike a fondue pot. Thin slices of cheese are heated and melted, then scraped off the raclette and poured over potatoes, meats, mountain ham, pickled vegetables, and other accompaniments. Raclette is an easy, convivial meal with historical origins; in the past, the cheese was melted in front of a hot wood fire). Ironically, raclette cheese is not the best cheese for a raclette – try Comte instead.
Stay in one of our trusted Parisian hotels, where Globe Bleu can arrange an itinerary to please any cheese-lover with behind-the-scenes tours of markets, chef’s kitchens, wine-and-cheese pairing courses, and more. We also offer an expansive array of villas throughout France including the Alsace region which can be viewed here.