Hello, my friends. Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week? I almost can’t, but I am so looking forward to spending some time with my family and the family dogs!
This week, I teamed up with Whole Foods and Hervé Mons Fromager-Affineur to bring you a festive, French-focused, cheese board. After the photo session, my visiting French in-laws and M. Cheesemonger tasted everything, and gave their seal of approval. Here’s what was on the cheese board:
Goat, France, pasteurized
From the Poitou-Charentes region in France—along the Atlantic coast, also known for its donkeys!—this surprisingly dainty goat’s milk cheese delighted my whole family. Its ashen rind makes an elegant, edible statement, and the cheese was so delightful, we were ready to leave no trace left. It has a wonderfully milky, grassy flavor, along with a touch of minerality, especially at the finish. The lingering aftertaste reminded me a bit of white flowers.
Sheep, cow, France, raw
Gabietou is a relatively new cheese to the scene, being developed in 2001 by Gabriel Bachelet. It is a mixed milk sheep and cow cheese intended to show off the terroir of the French Pyreneees region, an area known particularly for its sheep milk cheeses. I did include it in a cheese board 2 years ago as well, and thought it was time for it to make a reappearance. This particular specimen’s rind was really funky—thick with lots of musty earth flavors. If you don’t love that, you can just cut the rind off, and enjoy the bright hay and earth flavors in the paste.
Camembert Stuffed With Porcini Mushrooms
Cow, France, pasteurized
Laure Dubouloz, Hervé Mons’s representative in the US, explained to me that these rounds of French Camembert made in Normandy are brought to the US, and at the Hervé Mons facility in New York, are sliced in half, then stuffed with a mascarpone and porcini mushroom stuffing. The result is just as luscious as you can imagine. Camembert is one of my favorite cheeses—I love those mushroom, straw, earth, and butter flavors and runny textures of a ripe wheel. The added mushrooms and mascarpone give it a festive touch. If you’re not into added flavors, though, the original Camembert is authentic and addictive.
Cow, France, pasteurized
M. Cheesemonger told me he could smell this beauty from the apartment building hallway while our door was closed. YUM, that’s how you know it’s good! This bright orange cheese from the Burgundy, France, famous for its sweaty smell, gets that characteristic odor from being washed in Marc de Bourgogne, a liquor made from grape pomace from leftover winemaking. The washing encourages the b. linens molds that give the cheese that pungent odor and delicious, meaty flavor. Biting into Epoisses reminds me of a steak made of cheese. It’s the perfect way to add some bite to your cheese board, as well as autumnal colors!
We filled up on accompaniments for our board as well, all of which complemented our cheese line up in surprising ways:
Charles Chocolates: The chocolate orange twigs offered a classic French flavor combination in a tidy, sugarcoated package. I like adding chocolate to the cheese board in different ways, and here’s one.
Honeycomb: Is it strange that I like chewing on honeycomb? Well, I do. This particular comb, which comes in an unusual round package, was light in texture and floral in flavor.
Lesley Stow Raincoast Crisps, Pumpkin Spice Flavor: I know lots of you love pumpkin spice! Lesley Stowe, one of my favorite Canadian crisp companies, offers a pumpkin spice crisp with a sturdy texture and subtle flavor.
Glutino Snack Crackers: if you need a gluten free cracker option, these guys have definitely won me over. They have a neutral flavor and a surprisingly sturdy build to stand up to the hefty cheeses like Epoisses.
Go Take A Walk Raw Power Snack: Nut, seed, and fruit mixes can add texture, color, and variety to the cheese board with minimal effort. This mix was made of pumpkin seeds, mulberries, cacao nibs, raisins, goldenberries, and cashews, and made for a nourishing complement to the board.
Glazed Pecans: This box was from the bulk section of the store, and was coated with cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla. That said, it was subtly flavored, and not too sweet.
Fresh Figs: I don’t think there’s any more beautiful fruit for the cheese board than fresh figs. Those rosy, deep violet, and green hues—they’re like mini sunsets in themselves! I am always a fan of making the cheese board colorful and visually appealing!
Mixed Olives: To add a savory note to the cheese plate, nothing beats olives. I like to have a mix for a variety of color and flavors.
All of these items can be found at your local Whole Foods. The mushroom-stuffed Camembert is shipping out this week, while all other items should already be at Whole Foods markets.
This post was sponsored by Whole Foods. I received payment and product to write this post. All opinions are my own.