CHEESEMAKING HAPPENS IN EVERY CORNER OF FRANCE, FROM THE NORTH IN CALAIS TO THE SOUTH IN THE PYRENEES, FRENCHMEN HAVE BEEN MAKING CHEESE SINCE ANCIENT TIMES.
Cheese, elevated to near Sainthood status in France, gets its own course during a meal. Usually served after a nice salad, the cheese course normally gets its own wine, oftentimes a good hearty red. And one striking thing in France is that very often, the cheese is not refrigerated and gets to stay in the fresh air, covered by a metalled-meshed crown. It would never spoil in the open air, of course, if it did, the French would like it better — the riper the better! Vive la France!!
Checkout the French Cheeses below and hit the play buttons to hear the Language Chef pronounce each word
Beaufort (BO for)
Beaufort, similar to Gruyere, is a hard cheese that comes from in and around the town of Beaufort in French province of Savoie. Savoie in France, Savoia in Italy, both Alpine regions with many wonderful cheeses.
Bleu d’Auvergne (Blur dOE vern)
This blue cheese comes from Auvergne, basically the center of France. In Auvergne, the traditional language is a dialect of Occitan called Auvergnat.
Boursin (Boor Sah n)
Trademarked and well-known in the US, Boursin cheese is named after its inventor, Francois Boursin.
Brie de Meaux (bree der MO)
Brie is a traditional area of France now roughly includes the departments, Seine-et-Marne and Ile-de-France stretching toward Champagne region. Meaux a town about 25 kilometres from Paris is an active cheese-making region. Brie is one of France’s cheeses that has a thin, fluffy crust surrounding the disk.
Broccio Passu (Bro Chio PaS oo)
This cheese from Corsica is considered to the national cheese of the Island. It is a soft cheese made from goat milk. Notice how this word looks and even sounds Italian – this is because the dialect of Corsica sounds more close to Italian than French.
Bucheron (Boo Cher on)
Produced in small logs, hence the name (Buche means log) , this cheese is a semi-aged cheese from the Loire Valley.
Camembert de Normandie (Kam en bear der Nor Mahn dee)
One of the best known cheeses worldwide, Camembert is mostly produced in Normandy, A variety of soft skinned cheese, Camembert is protected by the AOC designation.
Coeur de Neufchâtel (Ker der Ner Sha TELL)
A cheese from Normandy, Neufchatel is one of the oldest cheeses in France and is a tad spicy than its relative Camembert. Neufchatel means “new castle” – the “hat” over the A means that in latin there was an S after it – so it might have been spelled “neuf chastel”.
Délice de Bourgogne (deh leasee der Boo er goÑ)
Délice is such a fun word in French and sort of means “delight” with tad bit of naughtiness behind it. Burgundy Delight is a triple crème, cow’s milk cheese from one of the most powerful Duchy in French History.
Emmental de Savoie (Eh man Tahl der Sah Vaw)
A French version of this Swiss cheese which is a tad misleading in that Savoy, an alpine region is really a cultural area shared by three countries. The culture in this region is similar in the Savoy of France, Italy or Switzerland.
Laguiole (Lah ghee Oh L)
Orginally “la Guiola” in Occitan, the language of the region, this cheese is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese. Occitan is a Romance Language and is kind of between Italian and French. Echoes of Occitan still can be heard in the accent of the south of france noted for its sing-songy accent.
Mimolette ( Mee MO let)
A cheese from Lille in northern France, its names comes from the French word for soft “molle”.
Morbier (More be eh)
From the village of Morbier in the region of Franche-Comté, it has a very thin layer of tasteless ash that divides the layers of cheese one made in the evening and the other in the morning.
Olivet cendré ( OH lee vay Sen dray)
A cheese from the Loire valley town of Olivet, it is called cendrés because it is aged in ashes. The word for ashes in French is “cendres” and “cendré” means “ashed”.
Pont-l’Évêque (Pon Leh VEK)
Bishop’s Bridge is the translation of this cheese from Normandy. Very popular in France, Pont l’eveque is the name of the town where this cow’s milk cheese is produced.
Port Salut (Pohr Sah loo)
This semi-soft cheese wrapped in orange is a very popular cheese both in and out of France.
Raclette (rah Kle T)
Raclette comes from the French word “racler” which means to scrap. This cow’s milk, semi-soft cheese is melted over a fire or “raclette melter” and served melted over potatoes, cournichons and ham.
Reblochon de Savoie (Rur BLOH shon der Sahv WA)
This comes from Haute-Savoie and has an unusal name. Reblochon is named after the process used to make the milk for this cheese. “reblocher” means to “hold back from squeezing the cow’s utter”. The cheesemakers would hold back fully milking the cow because they were taxed on it. Once the taxman left, the second milking was creamier and made better cheese.
Roquefort (RohK For)
One of the world’s most famous cheeses, this blue cheese shares the limelight with Gorgonzola and Stilton. Remember in French, the final T is silient.
Saint-André (Sant ahn dray)
A Triple crème with a high milk fat content, its name means St. Andrew.
Saint-Nectaire (San Nek tair)
A cheese made since the the 17th century, its name is a corruption of the Marshal de Sennecterre who served it at the table of Louis XIV.
Vieux-Boulogne (Vee er Bool oÑ)
A “smelly” cheese from the north of France, it is made with cow’s milk.