French People and Their Obsession With Cheese

French People and Their Obsession With Cheese 

There are more than a 1000 sorts of cheese in France alone and it represents centuries of pure French traditions! No wonder the French use the expression "en faire tout un fromage" (to make a cheese out of it)  to refer to someone who blows things out of proportion! In this post, we are presenting  you with 5 of our favorite French cheeses. Learn how they came to existence and how you can cut and eat them. Enjoy this post and remember to "let them eat cheese!" 

 

1. Le Fromage de Roquefort 

Credit: Cyn Furey 

Credit: Cyn Furey 

Ah, le Roquefort! Easily recognizable by its blue-greenish dots in a white body, this cheese is part of the blue cheese family. Roquefort is a town located in the Landes, in the SouthWest of France. It dates back to the 12th Century when people already used the Caves of Roquefort to salt and affine their cheeses. The legend says that a shepherd left his cheese sandwich in a cave in Roquefort to court a young and beautiful woman. After chasing her with no results, he came back and found his sandwich with blue dots in it. Roquefort was born. Wether you believe in the legend or not, Roquefort cheese is now an AOC & AOP cheese, meaning that if the cheese is not made in the caves of Roquefort, then you cannot call it Roquefort. It is the champagne of the cheeses! 

How to eat it? 

You can eat Roquefort cold in a gaspacho or on a tartine with a touch of butter. Or, you can eat it warm as a mushroom stuffing. 

How to cut it ? 

Roquefort is part of the blue cheeses and need to be cut in quarters. 


 

2. Le comté

Comté cheese dates back to the 13th Century. It is derived from the Gruyère cheese that was introduced at the end of the 13th Century. Comté is a cheese made from cow milk and is from the region of Franche-Comté. During the Middle-Ages, winters were long and hard. People had to think collectively how to get through the rough winters. It forced farmers to work together to better use the provisions that they could get over the summer. Indeed, cows were producing a lot of milk over the summer and then less during the winter. People would therefore make huge wheels of cheese that would require over a 130 gallons of milk (500L) to produce. Farmers had to work collectively to bring together those huge amounts of milk so they organized as "cooperatives". Comté is a symbole of farmers working together so they could survive the winter. 

How to eat it? 

Comté can be enjoyed cold with a piece of bread or warm in any dish you like. It is preferred with chicken and beef or even with cod fish. 

How to cut it? 

Because Comté comes out of a huge wheel, the slices of comté you will get will be long. You must cut the heart of the wheel in long slices and then you have to cut the rest from the center to the crust. 


3. Le mont D'or 

Photo Credit: Arnaud 25

Photo Credit: Arnaud 25

Mont D'or is probable everything you can imagine about cheese. Warm, melty, lovely cheese that you add to a meal to make it as decadent as possible! The most ancient form of this cheese dates back to 1280. Unlike Comté, it does not require a lot of milk to make because it is mostly made during the winter. Mont D'or only needs less than 2 gallons of milk to be produced. This is why it is a soft, rich and seasonal cheese from Franche-Comté as well! Because of its consistency, the cheese is encircled with a "belt" made out of a specific wood, usually spruce.  

How to eat it? 

Mont D'or can be easily spread on bread or you can take it up a notch and the cheese becomes your own portable fondue! Just warm up the cheese case (made our of spruce, of course) and then remove the top crust and dip! It becomes a "boîte chaude"

How to cut it? 

Because of its consistency, it is hard to "cut" this cheese. It is recommended to remove the top crust and serve it with a spoon. 


4. Camembert 

Photo Credit: NJGJ

Photo Credit: NJGJ

Camembert is probably the most popular cheese in modern France. It was created in the 18th Century  in the Town of Camembert in the NorthEast of France. According to Pierre Androuët,this mix between curd cheese and brie became popular after Parisian tourists brought it back to Paris for people to enjoy in the 18th Century. Camembert was so good that it became part of the food rations for soldiers during the First World War, helping growing its popularity. Not only is the cheese popular but the box in which it is kept also is! People who collect Camembert's boxes are called Tyrosémiophiles. Along with la baguette, Camembert is a symbole of France. 

How to eat it? 

Simply on a baguette et voilà! 

How to cut it? 

Just like a cake, in equal parts from the center to the ridge. 


5. Beaufort 

Photo Credit: Coyau

Photo Credit: Coyau

Le Beaufort is a very old cheese that is produced in the region of Savoie, in Beaufort to be exact. History shows that this cheese was made before the Middle-Ages and continue to be produced today. It is only in 1965 that the cheese produced in the Beaufort region is called Beaufort. This cheese is firm, yellow, and concave. It is an essential ingredient for a Fondue Savoyarde! Cheese fondue is something that everyone loves! Picture a winter night, cold weather outside and a warm pot of cheese in which you dip pieces of bread for you to enjoy... MiamMiam !

How to eat it?

In slices with crackers or in a warm fondue pot mixed with other cheeses such as Gruyère de Savoie, Emmental de Savoie, white wine and pepper! 

How to cut it? 

Cut it in very thing quarters. 


We hope you enjoyed this delicious array of cheeses in French People and Their Obsession With Cheese! We hope you spend a wonderful (French-inspired) fall with your guests.  If you are looking to learn more French language and culture, don't forget to check out our French Private LessonsFrench Group Classes, and our cultural events at JP Linguistics. Bonne Journée!  

5 Best Festivals in France

5 Best Festivals in France

An important aspect of French culture is the extravagant celebratory festivals. We have cultivated the    5 Best Festivals in France, including the Cannes Film Festival, the Tour De France, the Nice Carnival, Bastille Day Parade and the Monaco Grand Prix -- the majority of which are held during the prime spring and summer vacation months. Keep these celebrations in mind for your next trip abroad, and don't miss out on all the fun!

 

Cannes Film Festival

The annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, has drawl visitors from worldwide since 1946 for its dedication to uncovering the best that the film industry has to offer and honoring those with raw passions for film making. Held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, it is considered the most publicized and most prestigious film festival in the world. The festival takes place in May, and previews new films from all over the world and of all genres. Movie stars from Audrey Hepburn to Arnold Schwarzenegger to Marilyn Monroe have attended this glamorous event. Visit here for more information about this year's Cannes Film Festival!

 

Tour De France

Bicyclists and spectators alike from all around the world travel to France for the Tour De France, the world's most famous cycling competition. This annual multistage race held in France since 1903 is typically held in July, and consists of 21 day-long segments covering 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles). The route of the race is ever-changing, however it consistently covers some of the most magnificent grounds of France, including the Alps and Pyrenees mountain chains. This is the perfect festival tocelebrate the world's best cyclists while enjoying the country's beautiful landscapes.

 

Nice Carnival

The Nice Carnival is the main winter event on the French Riviera and one of the largest carnivals in the world. The carnival offers a program of entertainment with over 1,000 international musicians and dancer, and a procession of 16 floats with giant colorful parades that take place day and night each year for one week in February. The earliest mention of the carnival in Nice is traced back to the 13th century, making it the oldest existing festival in the world. The root meaning of the word "carnival" is "away with meat," and was celebrated as a time to enjoy bountiful cuisines before Lent. Today, the event attracts over a million visitors to Nice every year and is celebrated on the Promenade des Anglais.

 

Bastille Day Military Parade

This festival commemorates the national French holiday Bastille Day, recognizing the historic storming of the Bastille that occurred in in Paris in 1789, and the Fête de la Fédération that occurred on the same day a year later to celebrate peace in the French nation during the French Revolution. Each year on the morning of July 14th since 1880, the French militants parade down the streets of Paris in remembrance of the violent revolution and to celebrate the unity of the French people. The holiday is celebrated throughout the country in a similar fashion to the United States on 4th of July, with fireworks and feasts.

 

Monaco Grand Prix

Regarded as one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world, the Monaco Grand Prix is a Formula One motor race held in the Circuit De Monaco since 1929. Similar to the Tour De France in respect to the route's breathtaking scenery, the Grand Prix brings in thousands of spectators worldwide for this thrilling but glamorous weekend along the Monte Carlo Harbor. This event lines up perfectly with spring and summer trips, and will be held this year May 26 through the 29th. Click here to find out about tickets and more!

 

I hope you enjoyed these 5 Best Festivals in France! If you are looking to learn more French language and culture, make sure to sign up for our new Online Classes at JP Linguistics! Don't forget to tell your friends about Frenchie Fridays so they can receive fun French stories delivered directly to their inboxes - they can sign up HERE. Merci et à bientôt!

Credit: stokpic - Pixabay, Wikipedia Commons, Karen Corby - Flickr.com

5 French Vacation Spots for Spring

5 French Vacation Spots for Spring

Planning a trip to France this spring, but don't know where to begin? It can be challenging to narrow down which cities to roam when the country is rich with history and authenticity. We have chosen five of our favorite French vacation spots for spring that are sure to satisfy all of your French cravings. Whether you are in the mood for a romantic getaway in the Parisian cafes and the secluded Annecy, or if you would rather enjoy relaxing and exotic beach excursions in Cassis, or if you are eager to sightsee some of the world's most historic ruins and cathedrals in Lyon and Loire Valley, then we have your ideal France vacation nearly planned for you!

 

LYON

The third largest city in France, Lyon is located in the east-central region of the country and is the perfect location for a sense of French culture. Whether you are in the mood to meander through museums or sightsee some of the oldest Roman ruins, or even if you would rather take a stroll through the town and have a drink among the city's Old World charm, this is the place for you. Some must-see sights are the Gallo-Roman Museum of Archeology, the Parc de la Tête d'Or, which is the largest park in France, or the Presqu'ile District, which is home to the Hôtel de Ville (town hall) and the Place des Terreaux.

 

PARIS

It would be a shame to visit France and not set foot in the most romantic and sought-after destination in the world. Paris is dense in history, rich in culture, and is likely a vacation in itself. There is plenty to do and there is so little time. Without a doubt, Paris is a complete must-see if you are in the area (a.k.a. if you are in Europe). To narrow down your sightseeing for just a taste Paris, get the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe out of the way, because those sights go without saying. From there, you have The Lourve, which could easily take up a week of your time if you truly took advantage of all the magnificent artifacts it has to offer; and the Notre Dame de Paris Gothic church is a must. For more must-see Parisian getaways, visit here!

 

ANNECY

Now, many visitors neglect the countrysides of France and fail to get a glimpse of the authenticity of small towns such as Annecy, situated in a valley beside Lake Annecy in the south-east of France. This is the absolute destination for a quiet and peacefully getaway surrounded by locals. Visitors enjoy the beauty of the mountains in contrast to the crystal clear, blue lake, and relax in romantic cafes, sipping wine and people watching. A must-see in this town is the Château d'Annecy (Annecy Castle) along the Thiou River. Another is Le Palais de l'Isle, which is hard to miss as it is planted in the water and in a central part of the city.

 

LOIRE VALLEY

Regarded as a popular tourist attraction for its incredible scenery, historic towns, architecture and chateaux, Loire Valley is a picturesque region to visit in spring. Located in the center of the country, Loire Valley is considered the "Garden of France" for its abundance of vineyard, fruit orchards and fields of artichoke and asparagus that line the banks of the river. A must-see sight in this region is the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, a chateau considered to be the foremost example of french renaissance architecture.

 

CASSIS

Situated on the Mediterranean coast, Cassis offers visitors a glimpse of life in a quaint Provencal fishing village in the heart of Calanques National Park. Whether you would rather enjoy the city by boat or by strolling along the turquoise coastline from a pebbled beach, Cassis is a must see this spring. The towering cliffs in contrast with the coastline offer breathtaking views to all who visit. For those who enjoy hiking, it is advised to visit the Cap Canaille cliff that lines the water. It is quite a hike but incredible for those who are up for the challenge. It is also a must to visit the calanques, limestone cliffs that plunge into the Mediterranean.  Viewing these natural wonders by boat is the most convenient and accessible way to see them up close.

I hope you enjoyed these 5 French Vacation Spots for Spring. If you are looking to learn more French language and culture, make sure to sign up for our new Online Classes at JP Linguistics! Don't forget to tell your friends about Frenchie Fridays so they can receive fun French stories delivered directly to their inboxes - they can sign up HERE. Merci et à bientôt!

For more destinations for your France spring vacation, visit here!

Photo credit by Carlos de Paz - Flickr, www.pexels.com, Mike Brice - Pixabay, Wikipedia Commons, and Dennis Jarvis - Flickr.