How Many French Cheeses Are There?
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.
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
However, you might decide to skip the cheese part of the equation every now and then. Here is a guide to show you where to buy wine in Paris. For more information on tastings, this is how a wine tasting event works.
Some of Our Favorite Different French Cheese Types
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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.
Made in southern France, this is a goat cheese which gets must of its taste from the blue mold on the crust.
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.
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
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
Derived from goat, this type is very soft to bite and even creamy at times. It is only aged a couple weeks or so.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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: