In France, cheese is traditionally grouped into eight categories, known as ‘les huit familles de fromage’. They need a lot of categories because there are a lot of cheeses. It is said that there are so many different types of French cheese that even if you ate a different one each day, you still wouldn’t have tasted all of them after a year!
With all of these varieties, there is a lot you could learn about French cheese, but the most important thing is to pull up a chair and start tasting. Here is an introduction to the eight families to get you started.
1. Fresh Cheeses (Fromages Frais)
These cheeses are white and contain a lot of water. They are made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or sheep’s milk and are not aged. Rather than adding rennet, which is used to create some cheeses, the curd is formed by adding lactic starter to the milk.
These are not the types of French cheese you would see offered on a cheese platter at a meal. Rather they are eaten separately, sometimes in the same manner as a yogurt, and sometimes used in recipes. Continue reading