No matter how you slice it, cheese is delicious. But there’s something extra special about the cheeses of France. Discover five of our favourites below, picked for their superior taste and versatility. Try them individually, or serve all five together for a balanced and delectable cheeseboard.
With its soft, springy texture, creamy feel and mild hazelnut aftertaste, Chaumes is a washed-rind cheese with a distinctive bright orange exterior. Chaumes has been on the cheese scene since the ’70s, and this treat from southwestern France pairs well with pale to amber beer and Pinot noir. Although it’s perfect for snacking, Chaumes’ flavour truly shines when it’s melted. Try it in grilled cheese sandwiches and paninis, or use it in place of mozzarella on your next pizza. Make Chaumes the silky centre of a special dinner with our Spinach & Chaumes Cheese-Stuffed Flank Steak.
Swap it up: Port Salut is similarly creamy and mild. Like Chaumes, it is rooted in the cheese making style of Trappist monks.
French Brie’s creamy, mild texture pleases without overpowering the palate; it’s an excellent light, starter cheese if you’re tasting several cheeses at once. Named for the Brie region in northern France, this traditional cheese is a classic on any cheeseboard, but you can also serve it with charcuterie or chocolate and fruit. And don’t forget the sparkling wine, Chardonnay or hard cider! Brie is also an accomplished cooking cheese, so whether you bake it with fresh herbs, warm an entire wheel and pour its liquid interior onto your favourite pasta, or use it as an unexpected complement to fresh fruit in our sweet Peach & Brie Rustic Tart, it’s all bon.
Swap it up: For an even richer experience, try triple cream Brie, like Saint-André.
Often called the king of French cheese because of its full and complex flavour, Roquefort is protected by the DOP: Only cheeses from the southwest of France that are made according to a specific recipe and use an aging technique can be named as such. In fact, there are only seven producers of Roquefort in the world! It has a creamy, crumbly texture and sharp, tangy bite, providing delicious contrast to sweet wines like sparkling wine or Recioto della Valpolicella, a Venetian red wine. Roquefort makes a wonderful addition to any cheeseboard and tastes great drizzled with honey, served with walnuts and dates or crumbled onto fresh greens. Our Brussels Sprouts Blend, Apple & Roquefort Salad is a sweet and tangy starter to a stellar meal.
Swap it up: Want to try something new? Substitute other French blues like St. Agur or Bleu d’Auvergne.
Hailing from the Normandy region, this triple cream brie has a decadent, buttery taste and tangy edible bloom. This celebratory cheese is best served with sparkling wine, lager or fruit beer, and pairs well with a fresh, crusty baguette and sweet fresh berries or figs. If you have leftovers (which we doubt), Saint-André elevates a lunch sandwich from simple to gourmet.
Swap it up: For something lighter, try Caprice des Dieux.
Saint Albray is a bloomy-washed rind cheese from the Aquitane region; it has a somewhat pungent rind and a thick, creamy texture. Serve it with olives and charcuterie and your favourite Belgian ale or Pinot noir for a sophisticated picnic snack or appetizer. Saint Albray is delightful melted onto grilled veggies and scalloped potatoes, too.
Swap it up: In a pinch, substitute Saint Albray with Camembert or Quebec’s Oka.
*Product selection may vary regionally. Visit your local Sobeys for listing.