It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the France Today team are a hopeless bunch of cheese lovers. Creamy or crumbly, mild or packing a punch, fromage français sets our tongues wagging – so imagine our excitement when we received our very own customised cheeseboard to sample! Courtesy of the generous folk at Paxton & Whitfield, the spread covered all bases and comes highly recommended for any turophile:
Soft: St Felicien (£7.50 per 150g)
Perhaps start with this soft, light cheese, with its mildly nutty flavour and creamy texture. Its rind begins as very fine and faintly blue, but becomes sturdier and yellower with age. Côtes du Rhône wines are recommended to complement this cheese.
Blue: Bleu des Causses (£26 per kg)
The lesser-known cousin of Roquefort, this firm, veiny cow’s-milk cheese boasts a strong aroma and full-bodied flavour (sweeter in the summer). It pairs nicely with dessert wines, such as Sauternes.
Hard: Beaufort (£11.25 per 250g)
Hailing from the Alps, Beaufort is a smooth, pale yellow variety with a creamy texture and pungent aroma. It’s often used to make fondue thanks to melting easily. Gewurztraminer wines and other whites are the perfect accompaniment.
Washed: Petit Livarot (£8.50 per 200g)
With its russet-coloured rind and reed binding, this Normandy cheese is as striking visually as it is on the tongue. It has an intense, spicy flavour (particularly if the rind is eaten) and a supple texture, and washes down pleasantly with a Faugères-variety wine.
Bonus: Fleur du Maquis (£38 per kg)
What a parcel of flavour and scent this herb-coated cheese is! Rolled in thyme, juniper berries and small chillies, it’s a feast for all the senses. Chinon wine is the drink of choice to pair with this soft Corsican fromage.