3 Underrated French Cheeses to Eat on Bastille Day
Camembert is always a good choice, but why not try some less famous—but equally transcendent—cheeses?
One of the biggest holidays in France has become an important day for Americans to eat French food. Restaurants around the States offer Bastille Day specials, featuring classic French dishes like steak frites and canard à l'orange, to celebrate the July 14 holdiay, which commemorates the Storming of the Bastille in 1789, a major turning point in the French Revolution.
We can't think of a better way to celebrate Frenchness than with a dreamy board of cheese. We tapped cheesemonger Carol Johnson, of Monger’s Palate in Brooklyn, to help us choose beautiful, unique fromages for a French-inflected spread, and she offered three varietals that more cheese-loving Americans should know about.
So before July 14, take a stroll to your local fromagèrie and try to get your hands on these exquisite, but lesser-known, French cheeses for the ultimate Bastille Day spread. (Baguette not included.)
If You Love Brie: Try Brebirousse D'Argental
"It’s a soft, sheep's milk cheese that's made in a Brie-esque style, but it’s a square, says Johnson. "The rind is colored with orange; it looks funky, but it's super creamy." (It gets its orange color from annatto seed.) "It's very bright orange, creamy, and a little sheepy." The cheese is from the Rhône-Alpes region of France.
If You Love Goat Cheese: Try Tomme de Ma Grand-Mère
"It's bigger format," says Johnson. "A larger kind of goat cheese with a bloomy rind that’s got a little bit of ash on it. It's citrusy and delicate." The cheese is from the Poitou-Charentes region of France.
If You Love Ossau-Iraty: Try Tomme Brulee
At the end of the maturing process, this slightly aged sheep's milk cheese gets its rind singed with a flame, adding a lovely smokiness. "It’s a little more chalky and crumbly—more like the aged young French goat cheeses you get," says Johnson. The cheese is from the Basque region of France.
And remember: Whatever cheese bits you have leftover after your soirée, if you have any leftovers at all, should be wrapped and stored properly. Here's how.