France is known as the country of the 1000 varieties of cheese, made in 22 regions, essentially from cow's milk, but also from goat's and sheep's milk. Titled as the most cheese-loving people, a French eats an average of 25kg a year, with most preferring it over dessert. In Portugal, French cheese is a delicacy that is also appreciated, where fine wines and jams are the ideal combination.
To guarantee its quality, it is now subject to several regulations. There are more than 40 types that have an “appellation d’origine contrôlée” (in english “protected designation of origin”). A seal that attests to quality and encourages producers in the region of origin to manufacture in a traditional way.
We have selected some of the most appreciated cheeses in France, from various regions and internationally awarded, PDO or PGI, such as: cow cheese “L’Emmental” Français (IGP), cow cheese “Camembert” (PDO), cow cheese “Brie de Meaux” / “Brie de Melun” (PDO), sheep cheese “Roquefort” (PDO), cow cheese “Comté” (PDO) and we suggest some flavours to pair with those: Raspberry and Redcurrant Extra Jam with Verbena, Fig and Orange Extra Jam with Port Wine, ‘Rocha’ Pear and Redcurrant Jam with Melissa and Pink Pepper, Blueberry Extra Jam with Vanilla and Port Wine and ‘Bravo de Esmolfe’ Apple Extra Jam with Cinnamon.
The homeland of the French Emmental is located in the Vosges massifs. A modern cheese with ancient origins, Emmental is the great sage of the cheese family that we always need. It is also the most common of the pressed dough cheeses.It is characterized by holes due to fermentation, and high calcium content. Made all year round, this cheese is the best when it comes to summer season milks. Emmental is the king of culinary preparations: fondue, gratins, soufflés, pies, etc. You can create a perfect match for this cheese with a topping of ‘Rocha’ Pear and Redcurrant Jam with Melissa and Pink Pepper, a sophisticated jam, with a slightly bittersweet and fresh flavor with an hint of spiciness.
Camembert is undoubtedly the most famous of French cheeses. It is a variety of soft cheese, originating in the Normandy region. Traditionally produced with raw cow's milk. For the proper tasting of this cheese, it should be removed from the fridge an hour in advance. Acquired at room temperature, it must be cut in half and then sliced, always from the center to the end. It is the king of cheeses, or at least the most popular cheese, a must on a cheese board. Camembert also has a wide range of uses in the kitchen: peeled and melted with cream, it becomes a creamy sauce for red meat, poultry and even fish. It can also be used in fantastic recipes like Camembert Apple Pie. To create a perfect combination with this cheese, pair it with Blueberry Extra Jam with Vanilla and Port Wine, a jam with a distinct flavor, slightly acidic and sweet, with the warm and special touch of Port Wine.
“Brie de Meaux“ Cheese / “Brie de Melun“ Cheese
Brie is an important family of soft, white-crust cheeses. Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun are cheeses with a Controlled Denomination of Origin and traditionally produced from raw milk. With a delicate flavor, it is considered to be in good condition if it is soft but not runny. Its flavor and texture change according to its maturation: the mildest flavours and smoothest textures are found in pieces with up to thirty days of maturation; for a more refined flavor and a creamy texture, pieces older than thirty days are recommended. Brie de Melun, however, is smaller than Brie de Meaux, but is considered to have a stronger flavor and a more intense smell. Brie, especially fresh, has been widely used in cooking and even in pastry. To create a perfect combination with this cheese, pair it with Fig and Orange Extra Jam with Port Wine, a consistent and sweet jam, finished with the incomparable aroma of Port wine, one of the most appreciated Portuguese wines in the world..
Roquefort is the name of an originally French variety of cheese produced with milk from Lacaune sheep. It owes its name to its place of origin: Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, in France. In a land "where neither vines nor grain of wheat grow", nature, magnanimous, offered them the most prestigious blue-veined cheese. Its paste has blue veins and is covered by a moist, white and shiny shell. The white cheeses, produced in two days, are taken to the natural cellars, where they are cured for 3 months, at the rhythm of the caves' breathing. Each cellar has its own personality, its charm, but above all a microclimate that is reflected in the curing method. Each one develops according to its magic and Roquefort's line of particular flavours. An icon on a cheese board, it has known how to seduce great chefs and has inspired many recipes. To serve this cheese, the ideal pairing is the Raspberry and Redcurrant Extra Jam with Verbena, a jam with some freshness and a slight touch of lemon.
Comté is a French cheese made from raw cow's milk in the Jura region of eastern France. This inimitable cheese with a fine flavor is the result of an ancestral passion. The dough, which is ivory in winter and "buttery" yellow in summer, may have a few "holes" the size of a cherry. Montbéliard cows are nourished by a very varied flora with many aromas, which gives the milk a unique characteristic flavor. Comté is a "long-life" cheese: it matures for at least 4 months and sometimes more than two years, during which it is regularly rubbed and turned. Comté serves many culinary uses with wild berries, pears, in salads or appetizers.
It is the basis of the famous “fondue comtoise”, a creamy mixture of Comté, dry white wine from Giura and kirsch. The ideal combination for a cheese of this quality could be the ‘Bravo de Esmolfe’ Apple Extra Jam with Cinnamon, a typical Portuguese jam, sweet and with a unique flavor.
Cheese and Portuguese Wines
In addition to cheeses, the French do not go without a good wine, and for each cheese an ideal type of wine is recommended.
Blue Cheeses like Roquefort, with the complex flavor of fungi, accentuated by fat, and spicy acidity, it combines with Sauternes wines, a French dessert wine with a high concentration of sugar, as well as Spanish wines from Jerez, wines from Madeira Island and Hungarian Tokai.
Soft Cheeses such as Brie and Camembert combine with structured white wines, such as a Chardonnay that has been aged in wooden barrels for some time. A Sancerre is another top alternative. Light, less tannic reds, such as the well-known Cotês du Rhone, or a Beaujolais, are other examples of good pairings.
Semi-hard Cheeses, such as Emmental and Comté go well with light reds, at most medium-bodied, such as a Côtes du Rhône, a Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais. They also go well with some lighter Italians like Barbera and Dolcetto. Dry whites such as structured Chardonnays that have remained in oak barrels can be good pairings for these cheeses.
At meia dúzia® we always try to offer the best experiences of flavours and unique moments.
A good French cheese deserves a good wine and a delicious Portuguese jam to complete it in the best way. Thus, we created a Pack of 3 Jams – Ideal for French Cheeses, with our suggestion of ideal flavors to accompany a French cheese board.
Already available in our online store!