This week we were invited to a spectacular cheese tasting in wake of the upcoming Bon Fromage Festival. The best of French fromage can be tasted here in Adelaide, and since we are still waiting to travel ourselves, we welcomed this mini getaway to France!
There is so much to be learned and experienced from French cheese. As well as delighting the tastebuds, the cheese has a long history. Valerie Henbest, the cheese expert, was our enthusiastic host and introduced us to four exquisite cheeses from four different areas of France. Valerie was born and bred in Normandy, the home of Camembert, and is passionate about the art of tasting and appreciating cheese.
We were welcomed into the Adelaide Central Markets with a chilled glass of Champagne and a wonderful, cozy atmosphere. With Édith Piaf gracing the speakers, and our beautiful cheese boards elegantly placed in front of us, we were ready to be transported right to the streets of Paris.
Here are the cheeses we sampled:
Camembert from Normandy
The first cheese we tried was truly a sight for sore eyes. Creamy baked Camembert; crispy on the outside, dreamy on the inside. This soft cheese has a bloomy rind and ages from a minimum of 4 months to 24 months. The flavours were soft, buttery, and rich. A fun fact about Camembert is that the recipe for it was rescued by a fleeing priest, so there is no wonder that legend says that the cheese smells like God’s feet!
Beaufort from the Alps
Known to be one of the largest cheeses made in the world, this Beaufort hard cheese had a lot to live up to. Wheels of Beaufort cheese are traditionally 45kgs, which would take approximately 45,000 litres of cow’s milk to make! The flavours of this cheese were mild to medium, with aromas of butter and honey. Beaufort is aged between 5 to 12 months, and is certainly worth the wait.
Époisses from Burgundy
Don’t be fooled by the wrinkled rind of this cheese, it’s the inside that counts! Époisses is a washed rind, smooth and powerful cheese that packs a punch. The cheese oozed on our cheese board like it had already been melted! The flavours were complex and earthy, and it had a very distinct aroma. We devoured ours on a fresh slice of baguette, washed down with another gulp of Champagne!
Fourme d’Ambert from Auvergne
Calling all blue cheese lovers, this one is for you! Fourme d’Ambert is one of the oldest cheeses in France, dating back to the Roman occupation of France 1,000 years ago. This blue cheese was considered a ‘starter’ blue cheese by Valerie, for those who weren’t on the blue cheese bandwagon yet. The aromas from this cheese were well-rounded, musty, but not over-powering. The flavours were slightly salty, yet the texture was soft and creamy. Aged between 1 to 4 months, Fourme d’Ambert was a firm favourite of the night!
If you can cross the border, the Bon Fromage Festival of European Cheeses kicks off in Sydney on Friday, 22nd of October and runs until Sunday, 24th October.
Thank you to the Smelly Cheese Shop and to Valerie for hosting a brilliant night that we won’t forget!
Words by Kitty Barr
WHERE: Stall 44, Adelaide Central Market, Gouger St, Adelaide