Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

How Many French Cheeses Are There?

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There are so many French cheeses that we lost count of exactly how many that there are. Numbers can range from anywhere from 250 to 1000 different kinds of cheese. Perhaps even more since a vast majority of them are not listed on online resources.

Many of the cheeses locals can find locally at any given farm do not receive the recognition they deserve. In either case, this is a difficult question to answer since the number of AOC (stands for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, translating to "Controlled Name of Origin", which is a designation of process and provenance) cheeses can change every year.

how many different french cheeses are there

Short Answer:

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It isn’t entirely clear. However, each of these different types of cheese come from the many different AOC cheese types. Cheese is a food product which is truly a French masterpiece. On this page, we will do our absolute best to break down the diverse range of cheeses so that you can know what to look for while in France.

Wine with Your Cheese

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Both of these products are much better when had together. In France, it is a good thing to have some how much it will cost for a wine tasting.

However, you might decide to skip the cheese part of the equation every now and then. Here is a guide to show you how a wine tasting event works.

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Some of Our Favorite Different French Cheese Types

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Since there are so many different French cheeses that are worth trying, here are some of the most widely recognized. Many of these are also AOC-recognized. However, some are not. This list should give you an excellent idea of the diverse range of French cheeses which are either widely known or hidden under the scenes.

1. Abondance

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This is a raw-milk cheese which is relatively soft and tasty. It’s exclusively made from Abondance cattle, where it receives its name. Since this is a breed of cow predominately found in France, it can be hard to come across this type. 

2. Banon

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Banon comes from Banon in southern France. This is an unpasteurized and soft cheese which dates back over a thousand years to times of the Roman Empire.

3. Beaufort

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This cheese is made from cows in the French Alps. It is similar to the taste in gruyère since it comes from a similar type.

4. Bleu d’Auvergne

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Another type which comes from cow milk, this one stands out for the blue mold that helps create a delicious taste.

5. Bleu des Causses

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Derived from raw milk which is then aged for several months, this class of French blue cheese dates back past our recent memory even back to the Roman times.

6. Bleu de Gex

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This one has to contain the milk of Montbéliard cows or it won’t meet AOC guidelines. It is aged and comes with a mold which gives it the blue color. Of course, this type of mold is safe to eat.

7. Bleu de Versors-Sassenage

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A blue cheese which was only recognized in 1998, even though it dates back all the way to the 1300s. It is pressed and uncooked and will be served best with ripe mold in the middle.

8. Brie de Meaux

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Brie de Meaux is a soft cheese is aged for around a couple of months before it is ready. Its name comes from the French city, Meaux.

9. Brie de Melun

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With a history which is relatively unknown, this is made in France’s Northern Brie region and is very soft and light-colored.

10. Brocciu Cara (Brocciu)

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This type is relatively easy to spot out by its soft and light texture which almost looks like butter. It is normally aged up to a month before it is ready.

11. Cabécou

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Made in southern France, this is a goat cheese which gets must of its taste from the blue mold on the crust.

12. Cancoillotte

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This one comes mainly from Eastern France and is a runny cheese which is almost like fresh yogurt. It is aged long enough to let some mold grow into it. 

13. Cantal

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Named after the Cantal mountains, this one dates back over a millennium. It is aged for several months to produce a cheddar-like taste which a soft inside.  

14. Camembert de Normandie

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Coming from Normandy, camembert is made with surface ripened unpasteurized cow’s milk. Typically camembert is ripened only three weeks for the best possible taste.

15. Chabichou de Poitou

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Derived from goat, this type is very soft to bite and even creamy at times. It is only aged a couple weeks or so.

16. Chaumes

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This is one of the best which doesn’t have AOC recognition. It is great for grilling and has a wonderfully unique taste which is loved by many.

17. Comté

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Made in the eastern part of our country, this is the highest annually produced of all our cheeses. Come see for yourself why it is such a popular world export.  

18. Crottin de Chavignol

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A small town with around two hundred citizens came up with this cheese over 500 years ago, and it is still popular today. It has a somewhat hard shell which is ripened to perfection for four weeks.

19. Époisses de Bourgogne

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This one has a soft inside which makes it great for serving with bread. It was also one of the favorites of Napoleon and has retained massive wide appeal.

20. Fourme d'Ambert

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This is a blue cheese which is aged long enough to let the implanted mold grow into perfection. It has a relatively hard bite to it and is, in turn, best served with a knife.

21. Fromage Blanc

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This is another French delicacy which is not recognized by the AOC. It can even be served as a dessert with fruit and bread since it is has a nice and creamy milk taste. However, it is also wonderful for any meal of the day.

22. Laguiole

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From a classic recipe which legends say dates down to a group of monks from Aubric in the 1800s, it is now AOC-recognized. Laguiole has a relatively hard shell and a soft interior which is delicious with all types of food.

23. Langres

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Made using fresh cow milk, Langres is usually served in a cylinder shape which is very soft and easy to eat. It is normally aged about a month before it is ripe.

24. Maroilles

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When you see the orangish-color of the rind on Mariolles, you might think this is bread. However, the inside is soft and tasty. It can be used with just about any type of food.

25. Morbier

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Made with a layer of morning milk and a separate layer of evening milk, Morbier has a unique taste after being aged for over a month. You can easily spot it out by noticing the black layer in between each layer.

26. Muenster

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Muenster has a pretty popular flavor which is soft and easy to chew. It comes from the city Muenster and dates back about 700 years. Not to be confused with the American Muenster product since this one is much older and different.

27. Pélardon

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Derived from goats, Pélardon is a wonderful delicacy which is now AOC-recognized. It has a soft interior which is covered in white mold. It is a wonderful addition to many dishes.

28. Pont-l'Évêque

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Produced in Normandy, this one was first made by monks in the 1100s. You can easily spot it out by the white rind that has a touch of orange to its color. It is consistently ranked among one of the most popular cheeses in France.

29. Reblochon

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This type almost looks like bread when you first look at it. The touches of white mold almost look like fresh dough on the rind. It has a soft, almost creamy interior which is utterly delightful.

30. Rocamadour

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Rocamadour is only aged a couple weeks or so before it is ripe enough to receive its AOC recognition. It is normally small and comes in round packaged which make a great addition to the end of a meal.

31. Roquefort

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Roquefort was the first of the cheeses to be awarded AOC status in 1925. It has a blueish mold which helps give it a special flavor. Along with the fact it comes from sheep.

32. Saint-Nectaire

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This French delicacy dates back over 300 years ago and has a creamy taste to it. It is packaged with a white interior and whitish-brown exterior rind.

33. Salers

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Salers is typically uncooked and pressed down until it becomes hard. It takes about 9 months before it will reach the point for serving.

34. Tome des Bauges

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The dark rind which is a mixture of brown and white may scare you off before you even try this one. As you will come to learn, never judge a cheese by the color of the rind. This one especially.

35. Valençay

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Valençay is made from goats and has a dark bluish grey rind helps it stand out in stores. The product itself has a sweet taste which is very distinct from other types when aged a few weeks, and one of the finest.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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More About Our Baguettes Classes

Getting a bit technical during our Baguette Class in Paris

The French baguette, actually probably better known as the Parisian baguette has beome a true symbol of French popular gastronomy. A true icon of French life even - look around and you will see the Parisians strolling back home with their baguettes under their arm. But if you are French why would you learn how to do this? You can buy a baguette at any corner of Paris for about one Euro a piece.  But in our Baguette Class in Paris  you will learn how do this from scratch. It is somewhat technical, but also full of tips and tricks. But when you leave, it will have not secret left for you. From the original mix to the famous "scarification" through adding water to your oven through baking, you will see and do it all.

Learning more during your Baguette class in Paris: Croque Monsieur Bread and Brioche

This class is like all our other baking or cooking classes: totally hands-on. So you get to practice from beginning to end - and to taste at the end. But not only will you learn how to make Baguette, but you will also learn to make two more types of bread: the French Croque Monsieur bread. The basis for the classic French bistrot appetizer. And in your Baguette class in Paris you will also learn how to make your own Brioche. Probably the most indulgent bread you will find in France - if not the lightest ...

And you might learn some history during your Baguette Class in Paris

While you will learn the techniques to create - and get to taste - three classic types of French breads, you will also learn some of the stories on the origin of the baguette. Just beware it is still being quite hotly debated. What is for sure though is that the Baguette is absolutely part of today Parisian's life. A classic you will be able to take back home with you.

More About Our Wine and Cheese Lunch in Paris

Cheese and Wine in Paris

The pleasures we can derive from French cuisine can seem endless.  However two of the best known and loved French gastronomic heroes are French cheese and wine. Whether we talk about a Brie which actually comes from very close to Paris, to a creamy Camembert from Normandy, or a Comté from the Alps, French cheese has a delight for all palates. And of course, French wines are even better known whether from Bordeaux great wines or Burgundy sophisticated whites – all of which enthral wine lovers.  Well, at our course on cheese and wine in Paris you will come to appreciate that although each is delicious on its own, properly matched cheese and wine together can make the experience of each even more enjoyable and an absolute delight.

How to pair French cheese and wine

Because not all pairings are actually what people expect, at Le Foodist we have decided to call these experiences 'Daring Pairings'. Maybe because we like to step out of the ordinary to challenge our taste buds, but really all we try to do is give you the perfect match fo cheese and wine in Paris.  So not only will you learn how to select the best wine to go with your cheese, but you will also learn what are the big cheese families in France – there are actually only five, and this is one of the keys to great pairing. In discovering all these pairings of cheese with wine you will be convinced that indeed two things together can be better than the sum of their parts.

It is important to have fun with pairing cheese and wine in Paris

Beyond the tastings though, we have found that the best way to help our clients remember and re-use their experience is to vary the way to approach both wine and cheese.  That is why during our courses on cheese and wine in Paris we share sensory games and many an anecdote to bring the produce to life in your mind as well as on your palate. Overall we will feature four excellent wines, one Champagne and demonstrate to you how best each combines with cheese, letting your taste guide you along with our teaching.

Understanding cheese and wine pairing while in Paris

While for many top Parisian wine stores and restaurant wine lists can be confusing and even intimidating, we believe that after our lunch learning how to pair cheese and wine in Paris, you will feel much more comfortable navigating all of those.  And we sincerely hope your knowledge will help you unlock a door to a whole new world of enjoyment of French wine and cheese pairing.  At every step of the way our sommelier will also share unique tips and tricks to understand wines better and how culture and wine are so related in France; hopefully enriching your own experience as well.

And they do not have to do with what you will find in those markets. They have to do with when you can go shopping there. Open Air markets are only open in the morning. Typically from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. And they are not open every day. As a matter of fact for the vast majority they are open either open every other day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), or sometimes only twice a week. 

This is the case of the Bastille Market (Metro Bastille and Metro Bréguet Sabin )which is open only on Thursday and Sunday morning. We like to send people there because it is a very big market with over one hundred vendors. And it has a nice stand of Crêperie in the middle. Here you get a video of a lady preparing a crêpe there; and you can get that crêpe for only 3 Euros!
There is only one Open Air market open every day of the week, it is called Marché Aligre (Metro Ledru Rollin or Metro Faidherbe Chaligny) which happens on the eponymous street. It is an interesting market because you find all kinds of quality in that market – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is also a nice covered market in the middle of it called Marché Beauveau – sometimes called Marché Beauveau Aligre. On the contrary, Covered Markets are open every day, and not just in the morning, but also in the late afternoon. Typically from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

We are blessed with two markets close to where Le Foodist is located, so we can walk to a market every morning – sometimes it is the Maubert market, and sometimes it is the Monge market. Both nice with their own specififies. Last but not least, none of these markets is open on Monday. Do not sign-up for a Market Tour on Monday, you might never see that money again …

Choosing Ingredients in Paris

While all markets are different, they also have some things in common. First they work on specific schedules as explained before. But also you will find always at a minimum the following vendors: a Maraîcher – this is the name we give to people selling fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger and a baker. Normally you will find several of each, with different levels of quality, organic or non-organic, local or not local (but mostly not local unfortunately).
And we explain how to recognize each of those of course during our Market Visits and Cooking Classes in Paris. But choosing ingredients can be daunting at first, because of the variety that is on display. A typical fishmonger will carry 20 different types of fishes, and as many shrimp and shelf fish varieties. A good cheese monger will easily carry up to 100 different types of cheese and obviously you could get over 100 different cuts of meat at a butcher (from the type of meat to the cut itself). And a normal Maraicher will carry between 50 and 100 fruits and vegetables as well.
This is what makes these markets so exciting – the variety of products, the beauty of their display, and the exchange you can have with most of the vendors. We give you tips though on how to make sure that exchange with the vendors go well – a few magic words, and everything will be fine!

Cooking in Paris

Obviously going to markets is nice, but actually knowing that you are going to cook what you find there is even more exciting. It is not uncommon for Parisians to buy a little bit too much food because they get so excited at the idea of cooking it all! But as most of us have hardly any space where we live, that can limit the enthusiasm sometimes. Because of the lack of space, Cooking in Paris can be quite different from cooking in the rest of France. And there are also dishes that are typically associated with regions which the Parisian will not cook at home – but taste when they visit friends or families in the various regions of France. However our kitchen has plenty of space, so we can cook traditional French dishes without a problem – whether they come from Paris or any region. And the most important part for us is to ensure that we share techniques much more than just recipes. As a matter of fact, we love to share a bit of the science behind what we do so people can better remember the “what” by understanding the “why”.

Sharing Stories

In November 2010, some experts from the UN cultural organisation, decided tha France’s multi-course gastronomic meal, with its rites and its presentation, fulfilled the conditions for featuring on the “world intangible list” of the UNESCO.
In this list you can find all kinds of cultural practices, including Mexico Day of the Dead festival for example. Importantly this is not suggesting French cuisine is better than other cuisines (even though we the French tend to believe that …). It is only saying that the gastronomic meal and what it entails is a very vivid cultural practice which people in France partake into on a very regular basis. That is why the same experts indicated that the French gastronomic meal is a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups”. And in that social custom, there are many parts: the attention we pay to the way we choose ingredients, how we pair wine with food, how many dishes we will present to our guests, how we lay the table, etc… But one big part of the cultural practice is that commensality (the fact of sharing the food) is always accompanied by sharing stories about …. Well, you would have guessed it, Food of course!
To us it is THE perfect example of how Food and Culture come together – actually we decide to share food is a considered a cultural practice. I would argue that it is true of all countries, regions, etc… As the way we relate to Food is such a big part of anybody’s identity. But as a result and to make sure you have the most genuine experience of French culture, after the a coking class in Paris at Le Foodist, you will share a gastronomic meal at a common table with your Chef and fellow participants to the class.

French Wine and Food Pairing

As mentioned above, one of the big cultural practices in France is choosing how to pair Wine and Food in general and Wine and Cheese in particular. We actually have a class which focuses specifically on this. As it is so important though, we always make sure we share white and red wines during our meals, chosen to pair well in our opinion with the food we cook. And being at the table together is a good opportunity to discuss about wine as well, with concepts such as “terroir” (to simplify, terroir means “what you do depends on where you are”) which are essential to grasp the way the French think about Food.
And all this will always go with a cheering “Santé” – which quite simply means, to your good health!

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