By Briana Seftel
French president Charles de Gaulle famously stated in 1962 "how can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?" It’s true: France has a lot of cheese, with many of it produced in small towns and villages the same way for centuries.
If you count yourself a fan of France’s dairy delicacies, don’t miss these five towns and villages with their own namesake cheeses!
The town of Chavignol in the Loire Valley is famous for its Crottin de Chavignol, a goat cheese produced from the raw milk of alpine goats. Encased in a natural rind and with a full-bodied nutty flavor, this cheese is often paired with Sancerre wine from the same region.
This pungent cow’s milk cheese is made in the village of Epoisses in Burgundy. The cheese is notable for its orange washed rind and melty interior. Epoisses is so pungent that it's banned on public transportation in France!
In the small village of Morbier in the Jura Mountains, artisans craft Morbier, a semisoft cow’s milk cheese with a thin black layer of tasteless ash running through it. In the early days, Morbier was made with a layer of morning and evening milk, with the two separated by ash. These days the cheese is made by a single milking, but the tradition of adding the ash lives on.
Named after the town of Meaux in the region of Brie east of Paris, Brie de Meaux was once hailed “Le Roi des Fromages” (The King of Cheeses). The raw milk cheese with a delicate white rind is a favorite of Parisians who slather the goodness on a crusty baguette.
Originally created in 1791 by a Norman farmer named Marie Harel from the advice of a priest from Brie, camembert is often confused with brie. However, the soft-ripened cheese has a stronger flavor and gooier interior and is best paired with a crisp cider from Normandy.