25 Top Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About The French Cheese
This subject seems to be very fascinating! I have to admit I am not a big fan of cheese and especially the really smelly ones which totally put me of the meal. But I appreciate the fact that there are many people who love it! And I need to admit there is no place in the world you can find such a quality and diversity of cheeses as in France. And what is more, I would even say that other countries (Poland…England with its cheddar for example) get the cheese totally wrong. The camembert in Poland is not camembert and brie is not a brie and it is shameful to treat a French person with the cheese sold in other countries…Another thing about the French cheese is the whole different way of eating it. Its not the typical addition to the sandwiches but a real after dinner feast and the best accompanied with the a good French wine and French baguette. So yes when it comes to cheese France is the place to be.
As fascinating as it is…let me summarize my observations about French cheese in the List of 25 Interesting Facts About French Cheese.
- 26 kilos of cheese each year means that a typical French man/women will eat half a kilo of cheese per week and that means 70 grammes a day.
- Almost half of the French (47%) eat cheese daily. It means that a nice/healthy dose of calcium is delivered to French people. Very good!
- There are over 400 types of cheese, and even more if we think about sub categories Some people say that when we count those subvarieties, number of types of cheese in France comes to about 1000… SO the very famous Charles de Gaulle has been a bit wrong when he said about governing a country of has 246 varieties of cheese
- All French cheeses are divided into cheeses from the farmhouse (fromages fermiers) , or industrially manufactured cheeses.
- There are actually some type of cheeses (the soft-ripened cheeses mainly) which are being washed in order to bear the mold. The agents ripe the cheeses from the outside with the salt water, beer, wine, or brandy.
- Raclette is a mass-produced industrial cheese designed for a “raclette”. It is one of the most popular & easy & party meal when eating with friends. It consists of the thin slices of cheese which are heated and melted then poured over baked potatoes and eaten with gherkins, mountain ham and other accompaniments. Most of the French families will have a special dish to make raclette at home.
- And this is how the cheese is being made! Learn, don’t try to do but just focus on eating!
- Approximately 10 pounds of milk is required to make one pound of cheese.
- The Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée status is the sign that the cheese is produced in a particular region only. This high rank of cheese has been attributed to only 40 French cheeses. These are like Beaufort of the Savoie , Camembert of Normandy, Comté from Franche-Comté, Roquefort from Midi-Pyrénées, and Brie from Meaux and Melun just to name a few.
- Rigotte de Condrieu is the last one French cheese which has been awarded AOC rank in 2008. It comes from Lyon!
- There is an international bi-annual cheese competition – World’s Best Cheesemonger
- The last one famous World’s Best Cheesemonger was in 2015 in France. It won by the Frenchman Fabien Degoulet.
- The next World’s Best Cheesemonger will take place in 2017 in the Loire Valley of central France.
- Another and the longest running international bi-annual cheese competition exists since 1957. It is World Championship Cheese Contest. The last one has just happened and you can see the results here. Now we need to wait 2 years for a new one!
- 1.8 million – this is a number of tonnes which are being produced in France each year. It means that around 57 kilos of cheese has been made per second
- Check out yourself on this website how many kilos of cheese had been produced in France since in a real time.
- Ecoles Nationales d’Industrie Laitière – is a dairy school which is teaching how to make cheese. The ‘cheese’ courses has been running there for over 120 years. There are many options to choose: daily courses or 2 years one which earn you a good diploma.
- If you are more ambitions you should consider c . They offer a Master’s course in dairy processing.
- French cheese is the king of exports – Foreign trade of dairy products in 2015 generated a surplus of € 3.7 billion. The cheeses are the largest item in terms of value, with € 3 billion of exports in 2015
- The 6.9 billion euros of exported dairy products are divided into: Cheese 44%; Powdered milk 18%; Yoghurt and other fermented for 7%
- Find out about French way of eating cheese, there is a real Guide on how to eat French cheese. Check out the French Cheese Etiquette. Here I found the easy to understand the way you should eat and cut the cheese.
- The basics of eating cheese: round cheeses, usually the more soft ones, you cut into slices like a pie, the log-shaped cheeses should be made into parallel slices. Square cheeses should be made into triangles and the wedges of Brie or Roquefort you should cut along the side!
- Another important rule when eating cheese is about drinking wine. Normally, you drink a red wine with your cheese. There is one exception; sweet white wines can be drunk with the cheese only when the cheese is being used in a sweet/sour combination.
- Epoisses is one of the very soft cheeses. It is being washed in brine and brandy before being aged for six weeks. The smell is so strong that once it was forbidden in the parisian public transport. Can you believe…
- The biggest cheese robbery took place in eastern France in November 2015. Four tonnes of Comté cheese worth €40,000 have been stolen from the French warehouse. There is a line of a cheese that comes from horse and sheep milk launched by one family in northern France. After 6 months of tests, Julie and Etienne Decayeux from Alencon finished this novelty.
And the BONUS Nr 1: The…est types of French cheeses:
- the highest – Le Beaufort which is produced in the Savoie region, 6500ft to 8000ft above sea level.
- the lowest – Picodon – Goat’s cheeses from the Rhone Delta, at the 2m below sea level
- the oldest – Comté, aged for 24 to 36 months.
- the largest – French Emmental whole wheel weights about 60-130kg
- the smallest – Barattes de Chèvrea – a 2cm high goat’s cheese
- the most expensive – Truffle stuffed Brie £45 per kilo
- the hardest – Mimolette Extra Vielle
- the softest – Mont d’Or
- the most well known & copied by others – Camembert de Normandie
BONUS Nr 2! The latest studies (and many opinions) do say that cheese is very good for you…so enjoy the French real lifestyle & discover the best & unique types of cheeses in France and get the unforgettable experience. Remember ‘guilt free’ as it’s so good for your health!
And the BONUS Nr 3! Learn how to make cheese yourself with those 8 Tips and Techniques for Making Homemade Cheese. So as useful as it sounds, as helpful as it is when you are not in France…use if needed, but aim to come over to France for the best cheese experience ever!
So are you hungry now for some French cheese? I hope you have found something new today thanks to my List of 20 Interesting Facts About French Cheese? I hope that when you come over to France now you will try out some of the cheeses they will offer you. You do not need to like it but at least appreciate the cheese being a big part of the French history, culture, lifestyle and it is interesting to take part in this culture discovery process.