Say cheese! Where to find and taste France’s best cheesesCategorized | Brittany, Cote d'Azur, News, Normandy, Vendee

Say cheese! Where to find and taste France’s best cheeses

Posted on 12 June 2015 by

12.06.2015
Say cheese! Where to find and taste France’s best cheeses

From fromage museums, to gourmet farms, we asked travel journalist HEIDI FULLER-LOVE to take us on a tour of France’s top cheeses and show us where to sample them.

Where to find and taste France's best cheeses

Renowned world wide, French cheeses come in a bewildering assortment of shapes and sizes. From horn-shaped cornes, to plate-sized Camembert, follow us on a tour of the best.

Cider and cheese in Calvados

Cheese and cider pair perfectly, so it’s no surprise that Calvados´ Route du Fromage takes in a lot of cider country, too.

Best way to do it? Start your tour in Livarot, at the heart of this lovely region. One of Normandy’s best loved cheeses, Livarot is an unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese with a textured yellow rind and smooth, nutty flavour that’s been an AOC since 1975. Run by the same family since 1910, Fromagerie Graindorge (www.graindorge.fr), a picturesque working farm with a large herd of black-and-white Normandy cows, is the best place to sample the region’s famed fermented milk product, along with a hearty glass of home brewed cider.

After your tasting tour, head south of Livarot until you reach Camembert village. Take a stroll around this tiny hamlet to find the statue of Marie Harel, the 18th century farmer’s wife who invented France’s best-loved cheese with the help of a priest from the village of Brie, then visit La Maison de Camembert (www.maisonducamembert.com)

Set in an authentic 18th century Normandy farmhouse, the museum is full of fascinating Camembert exhibits, whilst the Camembert-box-shaped building opposite has a shop where you can sample some of that creamy, pungent cheese.

Best place to eat? As its name suggests, La Camembertière (+33 (0)2 33 39 31 87)  in nearby Champeaux is a restaurant which specialises in dishes made with local produce – and lots of gooey Camembert.

Where to stay? Domaine de Litteau – follow the links to find a family holiday at Domaine de Litteau or to find out more about buying your own affordable holiday home in Normandy.

Fine fromage from Finisterre

Although Brittany is not normally known for its cheeses, there are a few specialities that are really worth making a detour.

Best way to do it? Head for Les Halles Saint-François, Quimper’s lively covered market, and sample Menez Hom at the stand of local producers like Ingrid Leost (+33 (0)2 98 95 28 50). Made from goat’s milk and lightly coated with ash, this sumptuous cheese has a subtle, slightly sour taste that is guaranteed to make you want more.

Fancy discovering another surprising local cheese? Then make a beeline for Ferme de Kerheu (www.fermedekerheu.com) and try the Ty Pavez.

Made with cow’s milk and algae, then aged for two-to six-months in seawater, this cheese invented on the Kerheu organic farm in 2006 has won countless awards.

Best place to eat? If you still need a cheese fix after your farm tour, make a pit stop at St Malo restaurant L’Entre Deux Verres (www.restaurant-lentredeuxverres.com)  and order their speciality: Gilthead bream fillets baked in a fine Ty Pavez crust.

Where to stay? Domaine de Kerlann is the perfect base for a holiday in Finistere, or you can find out more about buying a holiday home. Follow the link to see holidays at Domaine de Kerlann, or to find out more about buying a holiday home in Brittany.

Ancient fromages from La Vendee

Renowned for its tasty cheeses, the Vendée region has been making some of France’s best-loved fine fromages for centuries.

Best way to do it? Discover one of the regions oldest cheeses at La Fromagerie Le Curé Nantais (www.curenantais.com) in the pretty town of Pornic.

Created in 1880 in a small town near the Loire, Curé Nantais is a soft cheese with a delicate flavour that is made exclusively from fresh milk, which is collected in the early hours of the morning and matured in traditional copper basins.

Named for its angular shape, Trois Cornes (three horns), is another well-known local cheese. First made near the small Vendée village of Chaillé-les-Marais and mentioned in local recipe books since the 17th century, the fermented foodstuff had completely disappeared from production until artisan cheese makers Beillevaire (www.fromagerie-beillevaire.com) started making it again. Take a tour of the factory, and then watch a film that tells you all about the wonderful world of cheese.

Best place to eat? Wend your way back to Pornic and order a fruity glass of muscadet with specialty dish Curé Nantais roti (grilled Cure Nantais) at Restaurant le Retz (www.leretz.com)

Where to stay: Try Le Bois Dormant or Le Bois Masson for a family holiday in the Vendee, or find out more about buying a holiday home in the region. Click the links for holidays at Les Bois, or for affordable holiday home sales in the Vendee.

Say ‘cheese’ in Provence and the Cote d’Azur

Famed for its flavoursome dishes the Cote d’Azur is also renowned for its cheeses, in particular goat cheese.

Best way to do it? Ideal for all the family, the hamlets of Forcalquier and Banon are your one-stop-shop for goat’s cheese. High in the mountains where the cheese-making tradition has existed for centuries, families can visit farms like La Pourcine (www.lapourcine.com), where parents can find out all about goats cheese on a cheese-making tour, whilst kids will love watching the goats being milked – or even lending a helping hand.

Back in town make sure you make a beeline for La Ferme Savoyarde (www.fromagerie-ceneri.com) . Known to locals as Fromagerie Ceneri, this venerated Cannes cheese shop, which has been in business since the 1960’s, has six aging caves where some 300 cheeses are made, including the family’s own delicious invention: Brie with black truffles.

Best place to eat? A stone’s throw from La Croisette, La Serviette Blanche restaurant (www.laservietteblanche.com) offers wine and cheese tasting sessions where you will sample a selection of the region’s tastiest culinary creations.

Where to stay? Le Montourey is close to the seaside town of Frejus, perfect for holidays on the south coast, and with affordable holiday homes for sale. Click here for holidays at Le Montourey, or here for holiday home sales at Le Montourey.

Did you know?

Livarot cheese is also known as ‘The Colonel’ because it is wrapped in strips of raffia that resemble the one’s worn on a French army colonel’s uniform.

Marie Harel was so proud of her Camembert that she even sent samples to Napoleon.


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