French Cheeses

The cheeses of France are just about as well known as the wines of France. There are currently almost 1,000 types of different cheeses, many of which are covered under the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union that decreed certain established cheeses are “protected designation of origin (PDO), and other, less stringent, designations of geographical origin for traditional specialities, such as the French appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) system, the Italian denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) system, and the Spanish Denominación de origen system.” (Wikipedia)

The cheeses are classified under four different categories:

  • Fermier – This is a farmhouse cheese that is produced on the same farm where the milk is produced.
  • Artisanal – A cheese produced in small batches using either their own farm milk or milk purchased elsewhere.
  • Cooperative – An area that has joined together to produce cheese from milk from a local dairy.
  • Industriel: Factory made cheese from local or regional milk.

Some of the most popular French cheeses are:

Camembert

Description: Soft, creamy, ripe surface

Brie de Meaux

Description: Delicate, creamy, soft

Roquefort

Description: Blue cheese made from sheeps milk

Boursin

Description: Soft, creamy, wide variety of flavors, similar to cream cheese

Reblochon

Description: Soft, strong taste

Munster

Description: Very strong in taste, soft

Pont l’Évêque

Description: Soft, creamy, smooth, pungent

Époisses

Description: Reddish orange in color, pungent

Chèvre

Description: Goat cheese

Tomme de Savoie

Description: Mild and semi-firm