Lionel Giraud, A Charming Frenchman, and His French Cheese Plate – Marcella The Cheesemonger International Guilde des Fromagers
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Lionel Giraud, A Charming Frenchman, and His French Cheese Plate

At the same Seminar I mentioned in the reviews of the Rogue Creamery non-blues, The Lady met a most charming Frenchman, Lionel Giraud, who at the time was a sales rep for the French Cheese Company, FROMI. He has since left that company and has disappeared off The Lady’s cheese radar. She asked that I send a shout-out to him: : “Lio, if you read this, please send The Lady an email and let her know where you are and what you’re doing. Amy misses you as well.”

Lionel presented three wonderful cheeses as he waxed poetic about Terroir and how it contributes to the finished quality of cheese.

(Feline Foodie note: as these are The Lady’s notes from the seminar, there will be no Paw ratings. Had she brought these fine cheeses home, I would add my own thoughts…  The Lady can be quite selfish at times; when it comes to cheese… you’d think she was the brains behind this operation. Suffice it to say, she will pay for this slighting… but I digress…)

 

The first cheese he presented was Langres AOP (1991), a brilliant orange, washed-rind cheese that resembles brain membrane, in the most positive manner, of course.  The Lady found the aroma to be pungent, a common quality with most washed-rind cheeses; the texture creamy and the taste mild and a bit sour with a nice, extending finish. The Lady was quick to point out that it was not as pungent as my own personal French favorite, Epoisses, but found similarities between these two cheeses, which are both from the Champagne region of France. This cheese comes in a cylindrical shape and weighs about 8 ounces. It is usually aged about 5 weeks and the optimum time to enjoy this cheese is between May and August although it remains quite good through December. The version imported is made with pasteurized milk while the French are able to enjoy this cheese in a raw milk version.

Serving Suggestions: Spread on a French Baguette.

Wine Pairing: It’s from the Champagne region; go with the bubbly.

 

On Lio’s tasting plate, the second cheese was a pure sheep’s milk double cream from the Burgundy region, Brebirousse d’Argental. This cheese has a white bloomy rind with red edging. As it ripens, the perimeter sinks ever-so-slightly.  The Lady tasted meadow and maybe hay but was pleased that it lacked the sometimes lanolin-taste of sheep cheese; something she refers to as “sheepy”.  The texture was creamy and almost like rich, thick velvet.  The Lady thought this cheese had some similarities to Taleggio in both appearance and texture; but not as stinky and made from a different milk (Taleggio is made from cow’s milk.).

Serving Suggestions: The Lady mentioned that she could see serving this cheese with melon and prosciutto or ripened, juicy pears.

Wine Pairing: Staying with the terroir theme, The Lady recommends a White Burgundy.

 

The third cheese presented was Affine au Chablis, a Chablis-washed rind cheese also from the Burgundy region of France. The Lady also compared this cheese to Epoisses although she did say that the Chablis wash made it sweeter and not as pungent. The rind is somewhere between yellow and orange and again begins to resemble a brain as it matures. At full maturation, you might need a spoon to eat this cheese which softens with time but remains creamy and its Chablis taste becomes more pronounced. It is sold in a little wooden box, like Epoisses, and weighs about 7 ounces. It is a bit less expensive than Epoisses, although it certainly is not an everyday cheese, wallet-wise.

Serving Suggestion: Don’t mess with this cheese; just spread it on a Baguette and enjoy.

Wine Pairing: How about Chablis?

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