For my 25th birthday, I went on a trip to Paris. Yes, this makes me just about the luckiest girl there is and my experience in France was only confirmation of that fact. I fell in love with Paris- the food, the city, the people, the pastries! All of these were enough to make me consider packing my bags and staying for good.
Of all the wonderful food I had while in Paris, nothing quite compared to the incredible cheese that could be found throughout the city. Virtually all the cheese in France comes from small local dairies. The variety was astounding, as were the myriad differences in color, texture, age, smell and taste.
Dinner in France inevitably includes hours of laughter and conversation with friends, fresh bread, multiple bottles of delicious cheap wine, and a cheese course to finish the meal. Offering anywhere from 3-6 varieties, the cheese course quickly became a favorite part of my Parisian suppers. Happily, this is a tradition I can practice anywhere.
Unlike in the US, cheese in France is made with unpasteurized milk. All American milk is required by law to undergo pasteurization due to health laws. While this inevitably makes for a different kind of cheese, there are American dairy farms using traditional methods to produce beautiful, artisanal dairy products. Next time you are at your local farmer’s market, check out all the different varieties being offered.