When it comes to cheese, the offerings in France are nothing short of overwhelming. Some estimates put the number of cheese varieties in France at around 400, though with the sub-types added in, it may be closer to 1,000 — and that’s not counting those artisanal products made by just one cheese maker.
Whatever your preference — soft or hard, creamy, blue, mild or knock-your-granny’s-socks-off strong — there is something here for you. I recommend that you visit a fromagerie and ask to taste whatever tickles your fancy; that’s common practice in France, so don’t be shy.
Like what you tried? Settle on the size of your wedge and pick up a freshly-baked baguette with which to enjoy your fromage de France. If you’re outside France, visit your cheese deli to see what they’ve imported, or to find a locally-made variety. (Though note that FDA regulations make it hard to find unpasteurized cheeses in the U.S.)
As a resident of France, I’ve compiled the following list of some of the finest, most quintessentially French cheeses to taste— and of course, there are many more where these came from as well.
Let the food lust begin.