French Cheese

A Complete Guide

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Food Matters
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Home Grown
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The French are responsible for many of the world’s great cheeses. Steeped in tradition, the cheese we enjoy today is as a result of small producers perfecting there craft over hundreds of years within geographical boundaries where strict laws and decrees dictate the use of names to production places.


France produces a staggering variety of cheeses; some 300 to 400 types with the range of flavours just as remarkable. French cheese covers all tastes from the most subtle and delicate to room emptying ‘fromage fort’ or strong cheese.

During a typical French meal cheese is always served before the dessert, regardless of the cheese type and usually with some fresh baguette, celery and/or bulb fennel. Cheese also plays an important role in savoury preparations from the hors d’ oeuvre to the main course where any number of flavours and textures can be paired to certain varieties.

As with any cheese it is important to keep an open mind, a strong smelling cheese can often be surprisingly milder to the taste and perseverance can pay dividends as one’s appreciation grows. The following list is what I believe to be France’s best- known cheeses, some more notable than others.

A-Z of French Cheese
French Cheese Recipes

Content and picture © Miles Collins