Cheese & Food
Gratin dauphinois is THE traditional regional French dish based on potatoes and crème fraîche, from the historic Dauphiné region in south-east France.
Discover this Classic from the French gastronomy served with a green salad and a glass of fresh white wine.
The perfect rich and unctuous treat for winter!
Gratin dauphinois Traditional recipe
Ingredients for 5 people
- 1Kg all-purpose potatoes
- 1L single cream
- 2 garlic cloves
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 150°C.
- Peel and cut potatoes into thin slices (0.5cm thick).
- Crush the garlic.
- Cover the bottom of a gratin dish with some cream
- Alternate one layer of potatoes, cream, garlic, salt, pepper. Repeat until you have used up all of the ingredients and end with a layer of cream and pepper.
- Bake for at least 1h30.
Discover every few days a new cheese as we go through the Tour de France!
Brie De Meaux is the most famous of all Bries. This gorgeous, buttery and earthy cheese is steeped in French history and has on many occasions been the cheese of royalty. Brie De Meaux is still traditionally artisan made, just 50kms east of Paris but it has a history going back over 1200 years!
Brie De Meaux was first created in the Middle Ages by the monks of the Priory of Rueil en Brie. Its reputation began when, in 774, French Emperor Charlemagne stopped at the priory and discovered a cheese which pleased him so much that he asked it to be delivered regularly to his Castle in Aachen. In 1217, King Philippe-Auguste judged the cheese to be so excellent he sent 200 rounds of Brie de Meaux to all the members of the court as New Year gifts. And during the famous escape of Louis XVI from his arrest at the house of Sausse, Varennes, he lost precious minutes to satisfy his ravenous appetite with Brie and red wine.
Brie de Meaux hasn’t just been adored by the French: Henry IV also fell under the spell of the cheese. The English king discovered Brie when he ate it at a supper with the Queen at the old castle of Meaux, one night in February 1594. The story goes that afterwards, the Queen always requested that the cheese be served to please her husband.
But it was in the 19th century that Brie de Meaux really saw its popularity soar. At one of history’s most superior banquets, the Congress of Vienna, the 19th-century French diplomat Talleyrand reportedly called for a break from divvying up the nations, following the fall of the French Empire, in order to stage a cheese contest. More than 60 varieties of cheese were brought together, which were all tasted with great attention. After a vote they all praised French gastronomy and maintained that there was no other cheese that matched up to the Brie de Meaux and declared a new king ‘Le Roi des Fromages’ (King Of Cheeses).
How should Brie de Meaux be enjoyed?Just slide it into a moderately hot oven for a few minutes and serve it with a crusty French bread or your favourite crackers. This little cheese paired with fruits, such as apples or figs and honey.It pairs perfectly with any red wines of course but for an original match, try it with cider from Normandy! Delicious
Named after the small town of Saint-Marcellin in the Rhône-Alpes region of France, St Marcellin is a delicate little unpasteurised, mould ripened cheese. Made exclusively from goat's milk until the 13th century, today cow’s milk is used to make this 80g round, wrinkly cheese dusted with a coating of white yeast. The rind of this tiny cheese is almost non-existent at room temperature, and once warmed, even the gentlest prod of a cracker causes it to burst forth a fountain of sensuously unctuous cream.
While St. Marcellin is satiny-smooth upon first taste, its personality is more complex than its feather-like texture might first let on. Aged for a month, this cheese's thick creaminess and mushroomy flavour can be enjoyed relatively young while its silken texture is still intact. When ripe, it is irresistible with slightly yeasty taste. It has an intensely rustic, nutty, fruity flavour.
How should Saint-Marcellin be enjoyed?It can be lightly warmed in the oven, a task for which its little crock is perfectly suited. Just slide it into a moderately hot oven for a few minutes and serve it with a crusty French bread or your favourite crackers. This little cheese paired with crisp, fresh fruit, such as apples or persimmons. It should ideally be accompanied by a Northern Rhone wine such as Crozes Hermitage.
Ingredients for 4 people
- 1 roll of puff pastry
- 2 Saint-Marcellin
- 8 slices of smoked bacon
- 1 egg yolk
- Cut the puff pastry into 15 centimetre 4 squares.
- Cut the St Marcellin cheeses in half lengthwise to have 4 discs.
- Wrap each disc in 2 slices of smoked bacon by crossing it and place in the centre of the each puff pastry square.
- Bring each corner together and pinch edges to seal.
- Brush with egg yolk.
- Bake in oven at 200°C for 20 minutes.
Serve hot with a salad and walnut oil.
In the south of the Parc Naturel Régional des Grands Causses, at the foot of the Rocher de Combalou, a unique village awaits you – Roquefort! This is where, in the heart of the rock itself, one finds the cellars where the famous blue vein cheese is matured.
The legend has it that a love-struck shepherd… in order to follow a shepherdess supposedly left some bread and sheep’s cheese in a Combalou cave. On returning some time later, he found them covered in mould. He tasted the cheese and loved it. Roquefort was born. Guardians of this savoir-faire, man maintains this tradition in the deepest of these caves and the miracle is still performed each time.
Roquefort is probably the world’s greatest blue cheese. It is produced entirely from milk of ewes that feed on vast limestone plateaux found in the Aveyron. It is the quality of the milk, the processing of the curd, the adding of “penicillium roqueforti” and finally the ripening in natural caves that give this unique and remarkable cheese. The exterior aspect of a Roquefort cheese should be white and faintly shiny. The taste of the Roquefort cheese is complex, but quite outstanding... Soft, creamy, slightly salty, with an aftertaste that leaves the palate craving for more.
How should Roquefort be enjoyed? Roquefort makes a good addition to a cheeseboard, served with fruit. It's also delicious used in salads, dressings, pasta dishes, quiches, or as a stuffing. It marries extremely well with nuts and figs. It should ideally be accompanied by a sweet wine such as Sauternes or by a red wine such as Cahors or Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Creamy Mussels with Sauce Roquefort
Ingredients for 2 people as a main course:
- Heat the olive oil in a large straight-sided sauté pan or saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the shallots and stirring constantly until just soft (about 2 minutes).
- Add the wine and the thyme, and increase the heat to high.
- When the wine boils, add the Roquefort and mussels.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover the pot, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until all the mussels have opened (4 to 5 minutes).
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cream.
Serve with crusty bread.
Ahhh the Pyrenees… For those of you who watch the Tour de France, this is where you see stunning mountain scenery, incredible athletes giving their all and sometimes world-famous bike crashes. These mountains are also where some of the most distinctive cheeses in the world are made.
Produced in the village of the same name, Bethmale (pronounced ‘bet-mahl’), also sometimes known as Tomme de Couserans, is the best known of the traditional cow's milk cheeses from the Pyrénées, and some of the best known examples of this cheese come from the cheesemakers at Jean Faup.
Bethmale cheese dates back to the early 12th century, when Louis VI of France tasted it during a visit to the region. At the time, it was described as 'the fat cheese of Saint-Girons’, a description that could still apply today since, when cut, the interior paste glows with fat and is distinctive for its horizontal slits.
Available both in goat’s and cow's milk, the texture of Bethmale is semisoft, supple and yielding, and cheeses are covered with a dense beige rind. The interior paste varies from ivory-white through to buttery-yellow depending on the season, and is dotted with small holes and slits. Aromas are pleasantly pungent, smelling of damp cellar and earth. Flavours are mild, very rich, milky and buttery with notes of grass, wood and mushrooms.
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 500g Bethmale (cow milk)
- 800g potatoes
- 200g diced smoked bacon
- 1 sliced onion
- Salt, pepper
- Thyme (optional)
- Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling, salted water for about 20 minutes. Allow potatoes to cool, then peel and dice it.
- Preheat the oven to 180° C.
- Brown diced smoked bacon and the sliced onion in a skillet over low heat. Add the potatoes and cook for a few more minutes.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Place half of the mixture in a dish.
- Slice the cheese and add half of it on the mixture.
- Add the rest of the mixture and the rest of the cheese on it.
- Bake to 180°C for 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve hot with green salad on side.
Rocamadour, whose story date back to the 15th century, and whose name comes from the medieval village where it is produced, is a small cheese made with unpasteurised whole goat's milk carries the AOC quality label. Presented in the shape of a small35g disk, it is recognisable by its creamy and smooth paste, as well as its subtle cream, hazelnut and butter taste. Rocamadour is simply irresistible and will doubtlessly delight the cheese lovers. A true enjoyment!
Because of the beautiful and dramatic setting of the village, climbing up a cliff side, Rocamadour is one of the Grand Sites of France. It was also voted 'the favourite village of the French 2016' by viewers of a French television channel. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the pilgrim route of ‘Saint Jacques de Compostelle’. Rocamadour is one of France's most important tourist destinations. In June, the village of Rocamadour hosts the cheeses festival, a gastronomic event celebrating the local cheeses.
How should Rocamadour be enjoyed? All the restaurants in the Lot region serve it. Hot or cold, it's undoubtedly best when kept simple: on a piece of toast with a drizzle of honey or of saffron syrup. It pairs well with light dry white wine such as Jurançon or Graves Blanc.
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 4 Rocamadour (still a bit firm)
- 2 egg yolks
- Olive oil, balsamic vinegar
- Slightly whisk the egg yolks.
- Dip the Rocamadour into the beaten eggs, then into the breadcrumbs.
- Add some oil in a pan and caramelize the Rocamadour for some minutes.
- Serve with a salad seasoned with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can also add some pieces of pears or figs for a ‘Sucré-salé’ taste.
For more than 10 centuries, villagers of Jura Massif, Eastern France have lovingly crafted a unique and delicious cheese: Comté. This stunning region of medium-sized mountains stretches between Jura and Doubs in the Franche-Comté region, and Ain in the Rhones-Alpes region, and is home to over 3,000 family farms dedicated to producing the highest quality of raw milk that is required to create Comté cheese. Today it is not only loved by millions of people in France, but all over world.
A prestigious cheese like Comté requires excellent milk, which is why Comté cows are authorised exclusively from the Montbéliarde and French Simmental breeds. With each cow given a whole hectare of pasture land in the summer months, they are free to feed on a delicious natural grass diet. Each day it is lovingly crafted in around 153 small village cheese dairies known as fruitières. Often located in the heart of the village, each fruitière continues to receive milk from dedicated dairy farms situated within a 12 kms radius to guarantee its absolute freshness.
Comté was granted Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status in 1958. This ensures that Comté follows a large set of stringent rules and requirements which guarantee the specificity of their unique cheese. The Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée also guarantees that the Comté production remains based on traditional methods and stages which have been in place for over 1000 years.
How should Comté be enjoyed? Comté cheese is adored by respected and revered Chefs all over the world. With its array of delicious flavours, Comté’s a perfect addition to so many mouth watering dishes. Its ability to melt easily means it can be added to all kinds of recipes, giving them a naturally unique flavour. It pairs ideally with a wine from Savoie such as Roussette or from Jura such as Arbois.
- Rub the inside of a fondue pot with the crushed garlic clove, leave the garlic in the pot and add the cheese. Place over low heat.
- Combine the cornflour with the white wine and pour mixture on the cheese, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the cheese melt and the mixture is smooth.
- Add nutmeg and Kirsch.
- Place the fondue on the table, over a tabletop heater (alcohol burner or electric warmer) and adjust heat so fondue keeps bubbling slowly. Season with freshly ground pepper.
- Use fondue forks to spear bread pieces and dip into the fondue pot, turning it to coat with the cheese mixture.
Munster is a strong tasting, soft cheese made from cow’s milk from the Vosges, between Alsace, Lorraine and Franche-Comté in France. Munster is derived from the Alsace town of Munster, where, among Vosgian abbeys and monasteries, the cheese was conserved and matured in monks' cellars. In the Munster Valley in Alsace, this distinctive cheese is still produced using traditional methods and has been covered by a controlled designation of origin (AOC) since 1969.
How should Munster be enjoyed? The most common way to eat Munster is with a slice of bread. Some people like to accompany it with cumin. It's also possible to make a full meal from it, by eating it accompanied with sauté potatoes or baked potatoes and a green salad or eaten in salads or pie. It should ideally be accompanied by an Alsatian wine such as Pinot Gris or Gewurtztraminer.
Ingredients for 1 pie :
- 2 rolls of puff pastry
- 1 Munster
- 250g potatoes
- 150g heavy cream
- 2 or 3 eggs
- 150 g bacon
- 1 onion
- Cover a pie dish with 1 roll of puff pastry and pick with a fork.
- Rinse the potatoes. Cut into slices.
- Pour the cream in a bowl. Add salt, pepper and some cumin. Add the whole eggs and mix.
- Fry the onions and bacon cut into strips.
- Cut the Munster into strips.
- Lay all the potatoes at the bottom of the pie. Cover with onions and bacon. Then cover with Munster strips.
- Pour the egg and cream mixture over.
- Place the second roll of puff pastry over the pie. Then seal and flute the edges.
- Bake in oven mark 7 (240°) for 35 minutes.
Serve hot with a salad.
Winter is coming! And what a must to celebrate it with fondue and tartiflette!
(from the French Savoie region)
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 1 Fromage a Tartiflette (250 g)
- 1 Kg of potatoes, small to medium, skin on
- 150g “Lardons” (smoked bacon cut into small cubes)
- 20g butter
- Salt & pepper.
- Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes in boiling, salted water.
- Peel off the skin and cut into medium thick slices.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
- Butter an ovenproof dish. In a frying- pan, melt the remaining butter and cook the lardons (bacon
cubes) for 5 minutes. Drain.
- Spread the potato slices in the dish, scatter the lardons over and season with salt & pepper.
- Place the whole Tartiflette cheese in center of dish, on top of the potatoes.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes to thoroughly melt the cheese.
Et Voila! Bon Appétit!
(from the French Savoie region)
Ingredients for 4 big gourmands!:
- Break the bread up into small pieces to harden it.
- Cut the cheese into strips (without rinds!). Put the Reblochon aside (it will be add at the end to bind all the cheeses).
- Dissolve a Cornflour tea spoon in a small glass of Kirsch.
- Rub the inside of a fondue pot with the garlic clove.
- Heat up the white wine (medium heat). When it foams, reduce the heat and add the cheese slices bit by bit, stirring in a figure of ‘8’ with a wooden spoon.
- When the cheese is completely melted, add the Reblochon, and the blend Cornflour + Kirsch.
- Light up the burnet and put the fondue pot on it. Stir time to time with the wooden spoon.
Pick your bread piece on the long forks and give it cheese bath for 10 seconds.
Serve it with charcuterie and potatoes.
This is a light recipe thanks to the mix kirsch + cornflour.
Don’t forget, the one who lose the piece of bread get a dare!!