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Beaufort Blue Cheese

Beaufort
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese. It is much like Swiss Gruyere but it has a higher butterfat content and a creamier texture. It can also be recognized by its concave perimeter, formed by the pressure of the molding hoop over several months.

Origin: Haute-Savoie (Rhone-Alpes region).

Type: Raw cow's milk.

Characteristics: Fairly dense, concentrated, buttery consistency, characterized by a fruity flavor and delicate aroma.

Wine pairing tips: Compatible with all big red wines. It is a cheese that brings out the best in less costly, less complex reds such as Cotes-du-Rhone and everyday Bordeaux. It also goes well with wines of the region, Montmelian red or Apremont white.

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Bleu d'Auvergne

Bleu d'Auvergne
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese produced in Auvergne region in Massif Central. It is similar to but milder than the famous Roquefort blue cheese. The use of cow's milk gives to Bleu d'Auvergne a creamier taste than its cousin in Roquefort, which is made with ewe's milk. It is a perfect choice for a cheese board or eaten in salad.

Origin: Auvergne (south-central France).

Type: Cow's milk.

Characteristics: Cheese of ivory-white color, veined with bluish-green molds, evenly distributed throughout the cheese. The cheese is typically creamy, buttery and moist, with a smooth texture and a strong smell.

Wine pairing tips: It goes well with sweet wines such as Port and Sauternes, as well as a full bodied red wine like Cahors, or Rhone's Crozes Hermitage or Chateauneuf du Pape.

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Bleu de Bresse

Bleu de Bresse
French pronunciation audio file

Bleu de Bresse also called Bresse Bleu is a very mild blue cheese made in Bresse area in eastern France. It is similar to the Italian Gorgonzola cheese but smaller. It is soft and easily spreadable, delicious melted on toast, in pasta dishes, gratins, and soufflés.

Origin: Bresse (south east of Burgundy).

Type: Cow's milk

Characteristics: Made in drum shape. It is a creamy, moist blue cheese, with a mild but savory flavor and a soft, spreadable texture. Its outer, white penicillin mold rind smells of button mushrooms, whilst its interior is rich and buttery with a sweet, somewhat spicy tang.

Wine pairing tips: Fruity red wines.

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Bleu de Gex, Gex Blue Cheese

Bleu de Gex or Septmoncel
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC blue cheese with a delicate parsley savor, produced in the Haut-Jura area, where exceptionally varied flora give the milk of the Montbéliard cows a unique flavor. It is made by hand, using the same traditional method developed by the monks of St-Claude in the 13th century. The maturing process takes 3 weeks during which it acquires its distinctive ivory and pale blue color. It differs from other blue cheeses by its milder yet more savory taste.

Origin: Haut-Jura France.

Type: Raw Montbéliard cow's milk

Characteristics: Made in flat wheel shape with yellowish rind. It is a firm blue cheese. The body is dense with creamy, almost crumbly texture, has distinctive ivory and pale blue color. It differs from other blue cheeses by its milder yet more savory taste.

Wine pairing tips: It goes well with the mild red or rose wines from Jura, or a sweet wine like Banyuls or Muscat de Rivesaltes.

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Brie Cheese

Brie
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese. Numerous villages of the region produce many different styles of Brie. As a rule, cheeses are named after the town nearest to where they are made. The 2 main varieties, are Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun.

Origin: Ile-de-France.

Type: Raw cow's milk.

Characteristics: Buttery, soft cheese with velvety, white rind and a pungent aroma as well as a strong nutty flavor.

Wine pairing tips: creamy cheeses like Brie work well with oaked whites as Meursault, or a full-bodied Chardonnay.

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Brillat Savarin Cheese

Brillat Savarin
French pronunciation audio file

This famous triple-crème cheese, with a butterfat above 75 percent, is named after the illustrious French gastronome, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

Origin: Normandy France

Type: Pasteurized cow's milk

Characteristics: Extremely rich cheese. Slightly neutral when it is fresh, this cheese can develop a pronounced taste if well matured.

Wine pairing tips: It goes very well with a sparkling wine.

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Camembert Cheese

Camembert
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese. Camembert is produced in enormous quantities in France and elsewhere. The industrial versions can be flavorless, however, the traditional one, made only in the region of Normandie, is a creamy rich treat.

Origin: Normandy

Type: Raw cow's milk

Characteristics: Straw-colored paste with a white bloomy rind, it is a full-flavored cheese with an underlying flavor of nuts and wood.

Wine pairing tips: Rich Chardonnay or red Bordeaux wine such as St. Emilion or Beaujolais.

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Cancoillote, Soft French cheese

Cancoillote
French pronunciation audio file

Created 2,000 years ago, the cancoillote is the oldest and one of the most typical specialties of Franche-Comte, particularly of the Haute-Saone department. It has a pale creamy-yellow color, shiny and half liquidy texture.

Origin: Franche-Comte, particularly of the Haute-Saone department.

Type: Cow's milk

Characteristics: It has a pale creamy-yellow color, shiny and half liquid texture.

Wine pairing tips: Côtes du Jura Chardonnay or a Savagnin.
Red wine: Passetoutgrain (Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir grapes).

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Chaource Cheese

Chaource
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese produced in Burgundy and Champagne, Chaource cheese has been made since the early 14th century in the small town with the same name in Champagne-Ardenne region. It is a table cheese similar to Camembert, but with a creamier texture, It is eaten when only 2 or 3 weeks old.

Origin: Champagne and Northern Burgundy.

Type: Raw cow's milk

Characteristics: Rich and soft cheese with a white mold rind. It has light creamy texture, fruity flavor with a delicate smell of mushrooms.

Wine pairing tips: Chaource is excellent with Champagne, or alternatively a white wine such as Sancerre or Chablis.

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Fromage de Comté, Firm French cheese

Comté
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese. It is one of France's most popular cheeses. The cheese is produced in small, cooperative dairies, known as "fruitières". Its hazelnut flavor gives an exceptional taste to some dishes and is used in many different regional recipes such as Fondue and Gratins.

Origin: Jura in Franche-Comté region

Type: Raw cow's milk

Characteristics: Made in large flat wheel shape with rustic brown color rind. It is a hard cheese with about 45% fat contents, inside is creamy-yellow in color, it has dense flexible texture with dotted small holes. It tastes strong, nutty and slightly sweet with complex aromas.

Wine pairing tips: It is one of the rare cheeses that can be enjoyed with either red or white wines, such as Jura wines, but it is best enjoyed when accompanied with Jura's "Vin Jaune".

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Crottin de Chavignol Cheese

Crottin de Chavignol
French pronunciation audio file

This little light and slightly salty goat cheese is produced in and around Chavignol village in Sancerre. A well known goat cheese, it is made with traditional methods, and has the benefit of Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status. This is the only cheese labeled "Crottin de Chavignol" to distinguish it from other Crottin type cheeses. It is delicious to serve it warm in green salad.

Origin: Chavignol in Loire region

Type: Goat's milk

Characteristics: The flavor is subtle and slightly nutty. In its youth, its dough is solid and compact, and its rind is white. As it ripens, the dough becomes crumbly and the rind turns brown, the mold on the rind matures into a bluish color.

Wine pairing tips: Crottin de Chavignol pairs well with a wide range of wines. When young, it calls for the Sancerre, as well as Sauvignon Blanc, or even fruity and light red wines. When aged and strong, go for the regional reds, or even Côtes du Rhône Grenache wines.

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Edel de Cleron, Soft French cheese

Edel  de Cleron
French pronunciation audio file

This cheese is sometimes referred to as Faux Vacherin. The only recipe difference is that this cheese is gently pasteurized. The cheese comes banded with a strip of red pine around its perimeter to support the cheese, which is runny when ripe, and is sold in a wooden box.

Origin: Cleron, village along the Loue Valley.

Type: Made from gently pasteurized cow's milk.

Characteristics: Its oozy texture is identical to the authentic Vacherin. Creamy, soft cheese with a nice bite of mushrooms and herbs. The flavor is perfumed with scents of the forest.

Wine pairing tips: Fruity and light reds or Chardonnay. Riesling is also good with this cheese.

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Epoisses Cheese, Soft French Cheese

Epoisses
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese. The town of Epoisses has given its name to this soft cheese, which develops a smooth reddish-orange surface after 2 to 3 months. It develops its character from a daily scrubbing with marc-de-Bourgogne brandy as it ripens, a process that inhibits mold but encourages the growth of a particular bacteria necessary for the development of its creamy interior and distinctive flavor.

Origin: Burgundy

Type: Cow's milk.

Characteristics: Sold in a circular wooden box, the smooth pate of Epoisses has a powerful rich flavor, salty and creamy with a pungent smell.

Wine pairing tips: It is best served with a full-bodied white Burgundy or a red Burgundy like Chambolle-Musigny.

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Fourme d'Ambert Cheese, Blue French Cheese

Fourme d'Ambert
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese. Takes its name from the wooden mold or form traditionally used to shape the cheese into its cylindrical shape about 8 inches high and 4 to 5 inches in diameter.

Origin: Auvergne (Massif Central region).

Type: Raw or pasteurized cow's milk.

Characteristics: Made in distinct, narrow cylindrical shape with thin yellowish rind. It is a rich, mild semi-hard blue cheese, its interior is bone white color veined with bluish sandy molds, with soft and creamy texture. The flavor is very mild, buttery and tangy, not salty or bitter with nutty aftertaste.

Wine pairing tips: Goes well with medium-bodied red wine like Côtes du Rhône or light sweet white wine, such as Muscat Beaumes-de-Venise or Coteaux du Layon.

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Mont d'Or, Soft French cheese

Mont d'Or
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC seasonal cheese, produced exclusively from September to April, wrapped with a flat strip of resinous, aromatic bark before it is packed in a lidded wooden box.

Origin: area delimited by the Doubs river source (village of Mouthe), the Swiss border and the Haut-Doubs area.

Type: Raw cow's milk

Characteristics: Unctuous cheese with a satiny smooth texture, and subtle flavor. At peak, they have a runny consistency.

Wine pairing tips: A light Beaujolais or Chardonnay to avoid masking the flavor of the cheese.

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Morbier Cheese, Firm (semi-firm) French cheese

Morbier
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese, first made in 1875 in Morbier, a village of Haut-Jura. Morbier is a two layered cheese, originally was made by the cheese makers for their own consumption. At night, the leftover Comté curd from the evening milking (cows fed with fresh mountain grass) was pressed and covered with a thin protective layer of ash. Following day the process was completed with the leftover curd from the morning milk (cows fed with hey). The result was a two layered cheese with slightly different tastes. In modern cheese making technique, the ash has bean replaced with a byproduct of vegetables. Each round weights around 6 to 7 kg. The maturing process takes from 2 up to 4 months.

Origin: Haut-Jura, Franche-Comte

Type: Raw or pasteurized cow's milk.

Characteristics: It is a semi-soft creamy cheese. Inside its smooth brown rind, the paste is ivory-yellow in color, silky texture characterized by horizontal charcoal color layer in the middle. It has a rich, complex fruity flavor, strong smell, but mild taste, with nutty aftertaste.

Wine pairing tips: Serve with a Jura or other light and fruity red wines such as Pinot Noir, Côtes du Rhône and Beaujolais. It works as well with Jura Savagnin, Sancerre and Muscadet white wines.

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Munster, Soft French cheese

Munster
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese. Made in farms high up in the Vosges mountains, it takes its name from the French village of Munster. It has been in existence since the Middle Ages. Faithful to tradition, munster is made with rennet-curded milk, put into molds, it drains slowly and matures for 21 days (14 for a small munster). The cheese, a flat disk in shape, has a smooth surface varying in color from yellow-orange to red. It comes in various sizes; the largest are the best.

Origin: Vosges mountains in Alsace region.

Type: Cow's milk

Characteristics: The pate goes from semisoft when young to soft and runny at peak. Mild when very young, it becomes spicy with a sweet, rich flavor as it matures. It has an assertive, deep, rich, tangy flavor and a strong, barnyardy aroma.

Wine pairing tips: This delicious cheese is enjoyed with cumin seeds, Gewurztraminer wine or a glass of kirsch.

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Pélardon, French Goat cheese

Pélardon
French pronunciation audio file

A Languedoc-Roussillon regional product made from goat's milk based on traditional 'know-how'. It is a round soft-ripened cheese covered in a white mold weighing approximately 60 grams. Pélardon has the benefit of Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status.

Origin: Cévennes (Languedoc Roussillon).

Type: Goat's milk.

Characteristics: When fresh, it is covered with light white color skin, has soft texture and slightly salted taste and presents a creamy character with a nutty taste and melts in the mouth. When matured, although the cheese itself is ivory-colored, but the thin rind is covered with veins of pale brown or blue mold. It becomes crumbly and confirms its full character with a stronger taste.

Wine pairing tips: Red "Coteaux du Languedoc" or dry white wine.

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Raclette Cheese, Hard French cheese

Raclette
French pronunciation audio file

Raclette has a semi-soft interior dotted with small holes and a rosy inedible rind. This cheese is traditionally melted over potatoes, in the dish of the same name. Making the dish involves heating a chunk of cheese until the top softens enough to be scraped off and layered atop potatoes boiled in their skin, served with pickles and sliced meats.

Origin: Savoie (Rhone-Alpes region).

Type: Cow's milk

Characteristics: It has a silky and smooth texture, creamy taste that is neither too salty nor sharp with nutty flavor.

Wine pairing tips: Pairs well with many white wines, such as Riesling or Swiss Chasselas in particular.

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Reblochon Cheese

Reblochon
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese. Made in Savoie and Haute-Savoie with the creamy milk of a second milking. It comes in flat round shape weighing about 500 grams. The rind is orange-yellow with a velvety texture. It is one of the main ingredients of Tartiflette, a well known local dish of cheese, potatoes, onions, and bacon.

Origin: Haute-Savoie in Rhone-Alpes region

Type: Cow's milk

Characteristics: A creamy cheese, nutty aftertaste and highly aromatic with strong herbal aroma, but relatively mild cheese. Develops bitterness when overripe.

Wine pairing tips: Goes well with the Savoie wines in particular, such as Apremont, Roussette de Savoie, or Chignin-Bergeron. Can also be served with fruity red wines like Beaujolais and unoaked Burgundy wines.

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Rigotte de Condrieu, French Goat Cheese

Rigotte de  Condrieu
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese. Rigotte de  Condrieu is a soft cheese named after the town of Condrieu in the Massif du Pilat (about 44 km south of Lyon), which also produces a famous white wine of the same name. It is a soft small cheese (about 30 grams), made from raw goat's milk, it's interior is ivory to pale yellow-orange color, and it's rind is covered with white or blue color mold.

Origin: Northern Rhône Valley.

Type: Goat's milk (it used to be made from cow's milk, when goats were scareced in the region.)

Characteristics: The body is fine textured and has a subtle delicate honey and acacia aroma.

Wine pairing tips: For white stay with Condrieu wine, for red, Saint-Joseph Syrah or lighter Côtes du Rhône wines make good match.

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Roquefort Blue Cheese

Roquefort
French pronunciation audio file

An AOC cheese. Ripened deep inside limestone caves under the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, Frances famous blue cheese is unique in taste, texture, and smell.

Origin: Rouergue (central southern France)

Type: Raw sheep's milk.

Characteristics: It is crumbly, ivory-colored, and the veins of green-blue mold should be profuse and extensive. It has no rind, so everything within the foil wrap can be eaten.

Wine pairing tips: a Sauternes, or some other sweet wine, such as Banyuls or Muscat de Rivesaltes.

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Saint André Cheese

Saint André
French pronunciation audio file

Very similar to Brie, the Saint Andre is a famous triple crème cheese, with a high (~75%) milk-fat. This is achieved by adding cream to the milk during the process. The soft texture and buttery flavor of Saint André, makes it perfect for spreading on a plain baguette or crackers.

Origin: Normandy.

Type: Cow's milk.

Characteristics: Made in small but high wheel shape, with edible rind covered with white mold. It is a rich buttery cheese, the interior is pale yellow in color with smooth texture. This soft white cheese is sublimely delicate, as it matures for a lengthy period of time, it becomes sharper with stronger flavor.

Wine pairing tips: It is best served with a slightly sweet sparkling wine or Champagne or even with a light fruity rosé wine. Alternatively, you may also skip the wine altogether and serve it with a tart, gently sparkling cider with a citrusy texture and acidity.

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Saint Marcellin, French Goat Cheese

Saint Marcellin
French pronunciation audio file

An intensely creamy cheese made from cow's milk in the small town of Saint Marcellin in Isère (formerly Dauphiné region) in the Rhône-Alpes region, It is rindless with pale yellow interior and yellow skin covered with white mold, It comes in small size weighing about 80 grams, packaged in small crock.

Origin: Isère (Dauphiné region).

Type: Cow's milk

Characteristics: Its intensely creamy and complex in flavor. Eaten young, the cheese is fairly mild, soft and crumbly. After aging for few weeks, it becomes runny and develops a pronounced fruity and nutty flavor. It is at its best when ripened for a few weeks.

Wine pairing tips: A great match with a light, rustic red from Côtes du Rhône or Provence. Saint Marcellin is traditionally paired in Lyon with Beaujolais.

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Tome des Bauges, Semi-firm French Cheese

Tome des Bauges
French pronunciation audio file

Tomme / Tome is a name used for a class of cheese made from skim cow's milk in French Alps. They are produced in different varieties, usually identified by the place where they are made. It includes the Tomme de Savoie AOC (best known) and Tome des Bauges AOC (written with one "m") produced in Massif des Bauges in Savoie. It is at its best from April to September when cows graze on mountain green grass.

Origin: Savoie, Rhône Alpes.

Type: Raw cow's milk

Characteristics: Rustic looking, firm, light in fat and mild taste with nutty flavor. It has pale yellow color body with small holes and thick gray or brown rind tagged with green label for fermier (made in farm) or red label for fruitier (dairy).

Wine pairing tips: Light red wines, such as Beaujolais or St. Joseph Syrah. Most white wines will do well, as Tomme de Savoie is not a strong cheese.

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