Anthony Peregrine in the Times (27 July 2008) embarks on a cheesey tour of France and this would be a great way to have a themed trip – maybe getting you into corners of France which might otherwise be missed. Furthermore there is increasing pressure both from EU bureaucrats, big commercial dairies and undiscerning consumers, which threatens the future of traditional artisan cheese-making.
….It’s good to visit them, too, to get to grips with the subject properly. They need all the allies they can get in the battle against industrial dairy plastic. They’re also to be found in some of the remotest, greenest and loveliest bits of France. Here are five of our favourites. All have an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée), which, as with wine, means that the item has to come from where it has always come from and be made as it has always been made. All will be glad to see you (and your money). Naturally, they might still drive you crackers with purple prose. You’ll just have to live with that. We’re travelling north to south.
So his tour encompasses Camembert (61 Orne, Normandy), Munster (68 Haut Rhin, Alsace), Epoisses (21 Cote d’Or, Burgundy), Comté (39 Jura, Franche-Comté) and the Auvergne which includes Saint Nectaire (63 Puy de Dome, Auvergne) – all of which are in beautiful parts of France and well worth a visit.
In the Auvergne there is a signposted Cheese route (Route des Fromages) – you can download a map and details at www.fromages-aoc-auvergne.com
In the Jura there is a Cheese Trail – details of creameries and farms open to visitors can be seen at www.lesroutesducomte.com
If you cannot get out to the farm, then these are French Cheese shops we can recommend:-
Fromagerie Marie-Anne Cantin, 12 rue du Champ de Mars PARIS – just off rue Cler in the 7th arrondisement – an overwhelming selection of delicious cheeses – very professional but also very helpful – also run tasting sessions.
To guide you in this wide field of cheese gastronomy Marie Anne Cantin and her husband Antoine Dias offer you tasting sessions.
According to the seasons , they will have you discover the different families of cheeses, their history, their making process , their character and particular flavour. You will learn how to choose your cheeses, eat, present and keep them.
Cremerie Marty Patrick, 160 rue Nationale CAHORS (46 Lot, Midi-Pyrenees) – excellent choice, also includes butter, cream and fresh pasta (see video)