Beginner’s Guide to French Cheeses

Written by on November 29, 2017 in Gastronomy

Cheese stall at a French street market with hundreds of different cheeses

There are currently between 350 and 450 distinct types of French cheese in eight categories, each containing many varieties, so the total is probably closer to 1,000.

In 1962 there were fewer when President Charles de Gaulle famously said, “Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays qui a deux cent quarante-six variétés de fromage?”(“How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?”)

56 cheeses are classified, protected, and regulated under French law. The majority are classified as Appellation d’origine contrôlée(AOC), the highest level of protection.

Production is classified under 4 categories, and AOC rules dictate which category(ies) each protected cheese may be designated:

  • Fermier: farmhouse cheese, produced on the farm where the milk is produced.
  • Artisanal: producer making cheese in relatively small quantities using milk from own farm, but may also purchase milk from local farms.
  • Coopérative: dairy with local milk producers joining together to produce cheese.
  • Industriel: factory-made cheese from milk sourced locally or regionally, or possibly, all over France.
  • Turophile: a cheese fancier
  • Someone who passionately enjoys wine and cheese might be described as an oenophile turophile

More on cheese:

The legendary Reblochon cheese makers in Haute-Savoie
How to make tartiflette, a cheesy feast to fall head over heels for
Mont d’or the golden cheese you eat with a spoon!
The goat lady who makes cheese with a secret ingredient – passion…

Read Michael’s tale of lost cheese love in our free online Magazine, The Good Life France Autumn 2017 issue

Michael Cranmer is an award-winning freelance travel writer and photographer. He spends most of the winter up mountains writing about, his primary passion – skiing – but also manages to sample less strenuous outings.

Related Articles

The secrets of Bouillabaisse famous French fish soup

Just how do you make a real bouillabaise and how did this famous fish dish get its name? Keith Van Sickle, author of Life in Provence, finds out The legend of Bouillabaisse My wife and I live part of the year in St.-Rémy-de-Provence. We love bouillabaisse, that magical dish that seems to capture the spirit […]

Continue Reading

Does the World’s Best Chocolate come from France?

  From the small French town of Voiron, near Grenoble, comes some of the best chocolate in the world. No less than the New York Times has called Chocolat Bonnat, “The best chocolate we had ever eaten.” Chocolat Bonnat Why is it so good? To begin with, Chocolat Bonnat has had a long time to […]

Continue Reading

Diner en Blanc in Paris 2018 in pictures

Friendship, gastronomy, elegance, magic: Diner en Blanc Paris is the chic-est annual gathering the world has ever seen. It is the pique-nique of pique-niques. A giant sea of laughing faces and popping champagne corks. A magical night: Le Dîner en Blanc celebrated 30 years in 2018 On June 3rd 2018 the world’s biggest organized pop-up picnic, the exclusive Dîner en […]

Continue Reading

Destination Gastronomique Montreuil-sur-Mer Hauts de France

Montreuil-sur-Mer sits atop a hill, encircled by ancient ramparts in a little corner of Pas de Calais, Hauts de France. Its medieval buildings and cobble stone streets have long attracted tourists including Laurence Sterne whilst writing his famous book “A Sentimental Journey”, Napoleon Bonaparte and the town’s favourite – Victor Hugo. The famous French playwright […]

Continue Reading

5 Places to stop off for fish and chips near Calais

Discover 5 great places to indulge in fish and chips near Calais. Enjoy an authentic seaside supper on the Opal Coast – the perfect pit stop on your way home or to your holiday via Calais. This part of France is often overlooked by those rushing to the south but savvy travellers will make time […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top