The beauty of French cheese is you can eat it by itself and not feel guilty for cooking little else. You do need to drink something though with all that creaminess, so why not try these 3 alcohol pairings?
In recent years, cheese has started to appear on many classic Asian dishes including ramen noodles, fried rice, and even as a fondue to be eaten with potstickers.
The French, on the other hand, tend not to mix the cheese into every dish, as many American ones do, but eat it alone as its own course. When artisan French cheeses can cost upwards of $20 per pound, enjoying the cheese solo would be à propos.
The Best French Cheese
They are 3 of my favorite ones because they are unique and not really comparable to the workhorse melting cheeses: cheddar, mozzarella, and monterey jack.
I hope you will give them a try sometime with these alcohol pairings too.
#1 Saint-André Triple Crème Brie with Vacqueyras Wine
If I had to marry a cheese, this would be it.
Triple Crème Brie is almost like butter, but better. And butter is really hard to improve.
It is those buttery qualities that make this the best cheese on a baguette too. It is like brie but 3 times as good.
To qualify as a triple crème, it must contain at least 75% butterfat. Many cheese companies makes triple crème but the Saint-André is the first one I had ever tasted, and everyone remembers their first time.
Can you eat the rind? Yes! Made from cow's milk in Normandy, France, this has a firmer texture than a regular brie and is not quite a mushroomy as a Camembert.
I paired this with a Vacqueyras because it is an oft overlooked red wine from the southern Rhone region of France, where Châteauneuf-du-Pape reigns and Gigondas is next in line to the throne.
I also know this pairing works because the Vacqueyras did not match nearly as well when tried with the two kinds of cheese below.
#2 Comté with a Citrus IPA Beer
You know this is a good pairing if you don't even like IPA, but you'll drink it with this cheese.
In fact, bitter beers pair well with many kinds of cheese, since the richness rips through the bitterness of those hops.
Comté is a cow's milk cheese from eastern France with a distinct grassy, nutty flavor that is very memorable and approachable, more so than Gruyere or Emmenthaler.
Paired with a citrus IPA, the cheese tames those hallmark hops, and you get this lovely, citrusy, Garden of Eden afterglow.
The trick to pairing? Drink the beer with some cheese still in your mouth for greatest effect. Otherwise, the beer doesn't really linger the mouth too much if drunk separately.
Can you eat the rind? You can, but like Parmigiano Reggiano, many do not. Save the rind though for soup stock or seasoning a braise.
#3 Mimolette with Genshu Sake
Mimolette is that striking orange cheese that reminds you of jack-o-lanterns and fall leaves.
Before you take a big bite, know that it is SALTY, nutty, butterscotch-y. It does not taste like cheddar, but it does taste like soy sauce.
For that reason, it works really well with the Genshu sake, a sake that has been diluted with water by less than 1%. These are rich, strong sakes that hold their own next to a salty Mimolette, a dry cheese that also contains very little water.
Mimolette is from the Normandy region of France, where they also drink it with beer. However, I like the mushroom notes in a genshu sake to complement this umami rich cheese.
Can you eat the rind? No, it's made with the help of cheese mites and should be cut off and discarded. In 2013, the FDA even banned Mimolette from the US for unacceptable levels of these bugs per square inch of cheese.
Luckily, the ban has since been discarded, and you can find this orange beauty for sale with the other French cheeses.
What Makes French Cheese Special
The milk for these French cheeses comes from pastured cows; cows that roam relatively free and eat green grass that their stomachs were designed to digest.
When you eat French cheese, you can appreciate the product, the cow, and the ecosystem that allows dairy products to thrive as nature intended.
You can find grass fed dairy products in the US as well, such as this organic cheese company, but you need to do a little research and scavenger hunting.
Or just head straight for the French section and look for cheese regulated with PDO/AOC labels.
More French Cheese & Wine
For more musings on French cheese and wine, check out what the #winophiles have to say:
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla offers us Pretty in Pink: Raclette de Savoie Polenta, Salmon, & Le Cocagne Gris Rosé.
- Lynn of Savor the Harvest brings us Cheese and Loire Wine Pairing with Les Vignerons du Vendômois.
- Pinny over at Chinese Food And Wine Pairings bids Je t’aime to a Bordeaux, a Loire Valley Rosé and an assortment of French Cheese.
- Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles gives us A Loire Rosé, a Bordeaux from Pommerol and…..Cheese.
- Wendy of A Day In The Life On A Farm shares Life’s Simple Pleasures; Onion Cheese Soup and a Glass of Rosé.
- Jane of Always Ravenous shares Summer Inspired French Cheese and Wine Pairings.
- David of Cooking Chat offer tips for Picking Cheese to Serve with French Wine.
- Jeff of FoodWineClick! says Do as the French: Serve The Cheese After the Meal.
- Liz of What’s In That Bottle? says Smile and C’est Fromage.
- Susannah of Avvinare brings us Vin Jaune and Comte-A Perfect Combination.
- Cathie of Side Hustle Wino presents Wine and Cheese, the Heart and Soul of France.
- Gwendolyn, the Wine Predator, asks Did Someone Say French Wine and Gourmet Grilled Cheese?
- Penny of Adventures of a Carry-on pairs Alsace Riesling and Goat Cheese, A Match Made in Heaven.
- Linda of My Full Wine Glass suggests we Try White Bordeaux and Goat Cheese Appetizer When Relaxing Outdoors.
- Cindy of Grape Experiences serves up Wines from Alsace and Cheeses for Pairing.
- Payal of Keep the Peas shares French #Wine(ophiles) and Cheese.
- Host Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog is pairing French Grilled Cheese and Drappier Rose de Saignee Champagne.
Do you love French cheese? Spread the ♥, and please share!