Soft French Cheese 4 Letters
Soft French Cheese 4 Letters – With over 1600 different types of French cheese, how do you choose? Get the inside scoop on the most popular types of French cheese, their origins, and your tastes.
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Soft French Cheese 4 Letters
There are over 1600 types of French cheese, but don’t worry, we won’t cover them all. I’m sure none of us want to read a 20-volume encyclopedia on cheese.
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So to pick the cream of the crop (pun intended!), I will focus on the French cheeses that are more popular than others, and widely available.
Shipping worldwide, you should be able to easily find this at your local high-end grocery store for a cheese tasting or wine and cheese pairing. After all, what good is this list if you can’t taste it yourself!
If you want cheese, stay away from the industrial versions. If possible, look for cheeses with the following letters on their packaging:
These are names given by the French government to milk and cheese producers from the region of origin, who follow established standards of quality and production. In other words, these are true things.
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Soft or unpressed cheeses usually have a white rind with a creamy yellow interior. The rind is meant to be eaten (more about cheese etiquette here) and you can use this cheese as is, or warm as a dip to scoop up a slice of bread.
Brie may be a French-sounding girl’s name, but here it’s actually cheese. It originates from the Brie district (today we know it as the eastern Parisian area
, named after those towns in that area. (In case you’re wondering, Brie de Melun’s texture is a bit firmer, but they all taste the same.)
Made from raw cow’s milk, the cheese was declared “King of Cheese” in 1815 by the French politician, Talleyrand. For recipe ideas, check out Brie Fondant or pesto.
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As you can imagine, this cheese originated in Normandy, and specifically the town of Camembert, around the 18th century. (No one said French cheese-namers were original.)
Another well-known French cheese, Camembert became widely known during World War II, when it was included in military rations.
Camembert is usually sold in a wooden box, and has a white crust, with a light yellow interior. The flavor is stronger once the package is opened, so make sure you eat it quickly. For recipe ideas, check out Baked camembert.
From the Jura Mountains in France, Mont d’Or literally means “Mountain of Gold”. There are two officially recognized cheeses sold under Mont d’Or (or
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The French version uses raw milk, while the Swiss version uses a subpasteurization process to reduce spoilage. Both versions taste the same, with the French version being slower.
Another soft cheese is Pont-l’Eveque in Calvados, in the town of the same name. It is a raw and unpressed cheese, and has a slightly sweet aroma.
It is the oldest of the Norman cheeses, dating back to the 12th century. It is considered Norman although the region is today called Calvados, as the area was controlled by the Normans at the time. (If you are English, you will remember your history with that most famous Norman, William the Conqueror, aka Guillaume le Conquérant.)
Nêufchatel is a small cheese produced in Neufchâtel-en-Bray, Normandy. It is believed to date back to the 6th century.
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There is also an American Nêufchatel, with cream added to it. This version is even softer and lower in fat, so it is sometimes sold as a cream cheese spread.
P.S. if you’re planning a romantic picnic for two, add this to your picnic basket, as the French version of the cheese comes in the shape of a heart.
Reblochon is a traditional cheese from the alpine region of Savoy, said to have originated in the 14th century. It was not allowed to enter the United States until 2004, because it did not pass U.S. grazing standards.
The cheese from Savoy really took off when local chefs decided to take the classic recipe for gratin dauphinois and add reblochon to it. This cheese twist on a new French winter dish called tartiflette, introduced skiers to the area every winter and made it popular throughout France.
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With a low fat content and mild taste, Tomme de Savoie is another hard cheese from the Alps region.
The cheese is made from skim milk as leftovers, and started out as a peasant cheese. Today it is popular because of its low calorie content and light taste.
From the Lorraine region of France, this hard cheese is said to have been produced by the Benedictine monks of the Abbaye de Vergaville in the 10th century.
It has a distinctive square shape and is bathed in a digestif called l’eau de vie de mirabelleduring its ripening process. This gives it a noticeable and smooth taste.
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Produced in the Basque country near the French-Spanish border, ossau-iraty is made from sheep’s milk. It is named after the Midi d’Ossau mountain and the surrounding Forêt d’Iraty, where sheep graze.
It is the only sheep’s milk cheese to be protected with an AOC, along with the very famous roquefort. The cheese has a light and nutty taste.
Hard cheeses are also called “pressed cheeses” because they are pressed to release most of the liquid. These cheeses generally last a long time, making them, which was very important in the days before refrigeration.
A classic hard cheese, comté is often a staple on the French cheese board. From the Franche-Comté region on the border with Switzerland, this AOC protected cheese is one of the most produced in France.
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Hard cheeses such as comté date back to Roman times, when it was necessary to have a flat hard cheese that did not take up much storage and was easy to transport.
Cantal is also an old cheese, this time from the Auvergne region on the border of Italy and Switzerland. This area has been making cheese since the Celtic Gauls and Romans settled in this area.
Now this is a little tricky because if you want a good emmental, because this is the basic “cheddar” of French cheese. It doesn’t taste anything like cheddar, it’s just that most of the versions you find in the grocery store are factory made.
So to get a high quality emmental you will have to look for the IGP designation. It looks and tastes like a hard Swiss cheese and is often found in classic French recipes such as croque monsieur or madame, and quiche lorraine. There is also a version from Brittany called
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There are 2 types of gruyère, the Swiss and the French from the Jura region around Burgundy and the Alps. Creamy and slightly nutty, it is a popular cheese often used in recipes, such as French onion soup.
Beaufort is part of the gruyère family, although it also has a slightly stronger taste. It also comes from the Savoy region, in the area around the city of Beaufort.
It has a very distinct orange color, and tastes like Parmesan. It can also be sold at different points in the ripening process, and the flavor becomes sharper as it ages.
There are two things you can do with cheese that has mold growing on it: either it has gone bad, or it has turned into a different type of mold called blue cheese. (Marketing news!)
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Roquefort from the region of Occitanie in the South of France, the area around Montpellier and Carcassone. It is made from sheep’s (not cow’s) milk, and has a crumbly texture and a high salt content.
Cheese dates back to ancient times, centuries before the birth of Christ. Legend has it that a lustful shepherd left his cheese and bread in a cave when he chased away a beautiful girl. When he returned, he found his cheese full of mold.
It is made from cow’s milk and is slightly less salty in taste than roquefort, and very creamy. It is often used in salad dressings such as blue cheese dressing.
While most of the other cheeses on this list are made from cow’s milk, goat cheese deserves its own category.
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Originating in the Poitou-Charentes region near the Loire Valley, bûche de chèvre is today produced throughout France.
, has a soft white skin, and a creamy white interior, and is perfect for adding to salads, etc.
From near Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine in the Loire Valley, comes Saint Maure goat cheese. The oldest cheese, believed to date back to the 8th century is the Bataille de Poitiers.
Legend has it that Ottoman women, who stayed behind after the war, taught the locals how to make cheese based on bacterial fermentation and plant decay in black manure.
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It tends to get old