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Let’s speak French cheese language

Ecole des 3 Ponts : Cooking School in France

How many kind of cheeses are there in France? This is the kind of information you only get in a French course in France! Because speaking French is not complete if you can’t know and pronounce correctly the name of most French cheeses.

Some say France has almost one cheese to eat for each day of the year. De Gaulle claimed that a country with 256 kinds of cheeses can’t be governed : he probably thought he was a Chef managing a Cooking School in France.

So is it closer to 365 or 256 different kinds of cheeses?

Neither of the two answers are correct. According to the way you make distinctions between cheeses (Yes, even this may be difficult), there is between 1000 to 1,600 different cheeses in France alone.

Camembert: To pronounce Ka-man-ber (still that last letter you don’t pronounce in French). The King of French cheeses. This dairy delicacy sits above all others, known worldwide, its shape and name is a synonymous not only to what anyone imagines a French cheese must be, but, moreover, what French excellency in food stands for. No “plateau de fromages” (cheese platter) is complete without him. You can end a meal with him, or camembert, with some baguette can be an entire meal on its own. Bring one for your next French language course in France, it’s an all time winner.

Gruyère français: To pronounce Gru-yiar. This hard cheese must not be confused with its Swiss homonym. The difference between the two is quite simple: the French one has holes in it. Our tip when eating it: dip it in some Dijon mustard, a must! A prince on our platter.

Comté: The pronunciation of this one is pretty easy. Another aristocrat is the nobility of cheese, and this time not a King but a Count, as “Comté” in French also means “County”. We recommend buying it around the time of Christmas as your “Fromager” might have a special one, aged for 24 months or more. Small crystals of salt start to appear and increases the pleasure you get once you bite in it, and makes it extremely addictive.

Vacherin Mont-d’Or: To pronounce Vash-rin (with this typical french nasal sound) Mondor. This very soft cheese is a special treat for any cheese lover. Playing the part of the Duke, he loves to get a special treatment. Cover its sides with aluminum foil and open its top to reveal its creaminess, and add some white wine, like a Chablis and add some garlic. Then put it in the oven until it melts totally, then you can eat it by dipping some bread… or just with a spoon.

Roquefort: To pronounce Rock-for. The blues spots and veins inside this cheese are worldwide famous. The mushroom that creates this cheese is so linked to it that the scientific name of it is Penicillium Roqueforti. When a cheese gives its name to a mushroom, you know this one is important. Roquefort was one of Charlemagne’s favorite dish, thus he can be crowned the Emperor of all cheeses.

Bon Appétit!