More Cheese

Julia from Mannheim asked Emilie in England some probing questions.

How do I recognize what a quality cheese looks like? Smell, colour? 

That’s a difficult question as each cheese has its own taste profile so you will look for different smell, flavour, appearance and texture characteristics for each cheese. But for all cheeses, you want to avoid the same default such as unwanted moulds or yeasts which can give strange colours (green, blue, bright yellow or black). You don’t want the cheese to be too salty or bitter and you don’t want an aroma such as ammonia. A high-quality cheese will allow you to find a delicate balance within its aroma and flavour and brings you the sensation that you want more.

Are there cheese tastings? If so, what do you eat and drink with the cheese to enhance it?


Yes, there are lots of cheese tastings. If you do a cheese tasting just to identify the quality or taste profile of several kinds of cheese, you will only drink water. As the objective If to clear your mouth from any remaining flavour before tasting another cheese, you will as well eat a piece of apple or grape. Having said that, if you do a cheese tasting for the pleasure, most of the time, it will be organised as a cheese and wine evening. In this case, you can almost find a different wine for each cheese and of course, don’t forget the biscuits or the bread.

How many different types of cheese are there – is there some kind of cheese register? 

Keeping in mind that only France itself is called the country of 1,000 cheeses, there are a lot of different cheeses in the world and new ones are developed every year. I am not sure that there is a register which will be a full list of existing cheeses, but you can find lots of books giving you the list of the most well-known cheeses, the PDO cheeses (Protected Designation of Origin) or a list of cheeses by big categories (hard cheeses / soft cheeses / fresh cheeses/cow’s milk cheeses/sheep’s milk cheeses/goat’s milk cheeses/ buffalo’s milk cheeses…)

Which nationality prefers which cheese? (Which French region prefers which cheese?) 

I can mainly talk about France and the United Kingdom. In France, you can almost identify the preferred cheeses by looking at which cheeses are manufactured in the area. Normandy, Britany, and North are keen on soft cheeses, Mountain areas, you will find more hard cheeses and in the Pyrenees, most hard cheeses made from sheep’s milk. In the centre & west of France, they love goat’s milk cheeses and in Bourgogne, you will find a lot of cheeses which have been infused with alcohol. In the UK, people are quite adventurous and because the main cheese here is the cheddar, they will be happy to try a lot of different cheese wherever you go in the country.

How do you find a good cheese producer? 

When we look for a new partner/cheese manufacturer, we look for a family company that has a passion for its products and which will not just sell cheeses but also, love, history and quality. We also want to work with companies that work closely with farmers.

Cow, Sheep and Goat are there other animals?
 
These are the 3 main species, but you can also make cheese with buffalo’s milk (Mozzarella)

Can you make synthetic cheese – not from animal milk? (What do Vegans do when it comes to cheese?) 

You find on the market more and more vegan “cheeses” mainly, they are manufactured to try to be close in taste to cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan or feta. They are plant-based products made mainly using coconut oil, modified potato starch, oat fibre, maize starch.

What is the most exotic / most expensive cheese, if it exists?  

In France, I will say that it is a mountain hard cheese called Beaufort.

What is the optimum temperature for cheese? Do different cheeses have different optimum temperatures? 

The optimum temperature for cheese is important during the maturation stage of the production process. It can go from 10 degrees to 20 degrees depending on the cheese and sometimes changes during the maturation process. After that, when cheeses are packed, they are all stored at refrigerated temperature. For a soft and hard cheese, we also recommend taking them out of the fridge between 30 minutes to 1 hour before eating them to enhance their flavours.

When was cheese first produced? What is the history of cheese? 

From my knowledge, no one really knows who made the first cheese, but some historian found traces of cheese beginning more than 7,000 years ago. Having said that, all traditional cheeses, especially those which have a Protective Designation of Origin have their own history.

What is it that makes cheese “stink”? 

Most of the time, it comes from the type of starter cultures (yeast and moulds) used in the milk which helps to develop a specific aroma and flavour. It can be also linked to specific steps during the production process such as rind washing.

Can you really tell the difference in cheese if the animal eats good grass or excellent grass, or is it from Normandy, Bourgogne, or Bretagne? 

Telling the difference linked to the type of food given to the cows is possible but especially between cows eating outside fresh grass and cows being inside eating fermented food. You can also see the difference between winter milk and summer milk because the grass is richer during summer and contains flowers. You will also have differences between mountain milk and valley one. After this, it becomes difficult to make difference between French areas for example but more because you cannot compare similar cheeses to anything else. You could do the difference between some Normandy butter and British ones.

What does it require to become a cheese producer? What is the training required? 

You have some great schools to become a cheesemaker, but I will say that the best way to become a good cheesemaker is, on top of patience and passion, spending time with someone who manufactures cheeses for a long time. There is nothing better than learning from someone who has the experience and the knowledge and can show you how the milk can react differently according to the season, the weather or other small parameters.

How do you make cheese? What are the steps? 

Each type of cheeses has its own production process but the main steps are: receive the milk on site, adjust the quantity of fat if needed, pasteurise the milk if needed, add some starter cultures and then leave the time for the starter to do their action during the fermentation. You will then add some rennet or coagulant in order to obtain some curd and get rid of the whey. When the curd has the right consistency, you will do the moulding. Some cheeses can then be pressed. The following step will be the draining and the acidification of the cheese before the salting (dry salting or in brine). After this, the cheese will mature before being sometimes cut and packed to be ready to be dispatched.

How can you learn about cheese? 

The best way to learn about cheese is going to visit some sites when you are on holiday but otherwise, you have lots of books giving the stories and characteristics of the main cheeses or even the internet.

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Cheese 1

Questions to Emilie from Monique & Bernard, Seebach, France

In November 2020, (Brida Journal 48/20) Emilie, originally from Normandy, spoke about her new life in England. We agreed to continue to explore the world of cheese and so, several of you asked questions. Since then, the Pandemic has struck harder, the United Kingdom left the European Union. Both have made life a little more complicated, but Emilie found the time to answer everybody’s questions. We start with Monique and Bernard.

A huge thank you to Emilie. I look forward to a drink in the pub with you both as soon as the mess is over.  

  1. What sort of cheese do you import? 
    We import cheeses from all areas of France. The idea was to have a full French cheese board. Most of the cheeses we supply are PDO cheese (Protected designation of Origin)

  2. Are the cheeses hard cheeses or soft cheeses? 
    We have both, soft and hard cheeses.

  3. Are the cheeses artisan products or industrial products? 
    We work in partnership with family companies so even if the cheeses can be classified as industrial, we don’t work with big production sites. Our partners are cheese makers since several generations and are dedicated to keep traditional production processes.

  4. What types of milk? Goats, sheep’s or cow? 
    We have in our range all types of milk (cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk) except buffalo’s milk. For each type of milk, we can have soft and hard cheeses.

  5. Is the cheese pasteurized or unpasteurized? 
    We are lucky enough to supply pasteurised and unpasteurised cheeses even if supplying unpasteurised cheeses on the UK market is more challenging.

  6. How is the cheese packaged? (box or in paper or plastic). 
    The packaging will change depending on the products. Most of the hard cheeses are under film with labels on top. Soft cheeses will be more under paper and sometimes, they are after packed with a cardboard sleeve (Chaource) or in a wooden box (Camembert). Some cheeses can be presented on small wooden boards and then put under film (mainly soft goat’s milk cheeses and few cows’ milk cheeses). Few cheeses can be in plastic shell as they become really soft over time (Saint Félicien du Dauphiné)

  7. Is the cheese packaged for wholesale or retail? 
    We work mainly with British retailers.

  8. How fresh is the cheese? 
    The cheeses we sell are made, matured and packed but depending of the cheese, the maturation time can vary from few days (soft cheeses) to several months. We sell a Comté PDO which is matured for 18 months

  9. How long is the shelf life? 
    The shelf life is linked to the type of cheese and the type of packaging. For pre-packed cheeses, it can go from 28 days to 100 days shelf life from packing. Typically, cut hard cheeses will have longer shelf life than cut soft cheeses. Whole soft cheeses have shelf life typically around 40-50 days from packing.

  10. What is the fat content? 
    Fat content will vary depending of the production process. If you take a cheese made from full fat milk, you will have a fat content around 20g per 100g. We sell also cheese made from milk enriched with cream. The fat content will be then more around 30g per 100g. You can find on the market reduced fat cheeses, but we don’t have this type of cheeses in our range.

  11. Do the producers you buy from also sell in France? 
    All our partners/production sites are located in France and manufacture cheese which are sold in France and a lot of other countries.

  12. Is the cheese produced just for export? (just to the UK) 
    We don’t sell cheeses which are only manufactured for the UK market. Our objective is to sell traditional French cheeses, a lot of them are protected by PDO certification, and therefore, those cheeses are available in a lot of countries.


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How to make Lasagne


Nathalie C. and Nathalie M. who live and work near Wissembourg describe the product their company produces.


 Discover the world of unleavened bread with us …

Made only with water and flour, plain or flavoured 100% vegetable, vegan and organic, it is a light and crispy extra-fine cracker. It can be enjoyed at any time of the day: at breakfast, as a snack, at lunch, as an aperitif and at dinner.

Use it for your recipes. An idea for a recipe?  Discover the unleavened bread lasagne:

Place slices of unleavened bread on the bottom of a dish and cover with minced meat and béchamel. Then renew in several layers to the top of the dish and sprinkle with grated Gruyère cheese. Put in the oven for 40 minutes at 200 ° C.

Another discovery … We invite you to share a friendly moment with the small aperitif crackers:

– in dip with different sauces (guacamole, hummus, fresh cheese, salmon rillettes, tuna mousse, tapenades, taramasalata) – in canapes (foie gras, salmon, rillettes, tomato/basil bruschetta, cheese, ratatouille …) to prepare at the last minute in order to keep all their crispness.  

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En cliquant sur "Send", vous acceptez le fait que vos données inscrites ci-dessus seront utilisées par Frank Peters, Peters-Langues dans le but pour lequel ce formulaire a été mis en place. Aucune donnée ne sera utilisée dans un autre but, sans votre consentement éclairé, ni ne sera communiquée à un tiers. Vous pouvez à chaque instant demander l'accès, la modification ou la suppression de ces données en nous écrivant. /// Ich bin damit einverstanden, dass diese Website meine übermittelten Informationen speichert, damit sie auf meine Mitteilung antworten kann. /// I consent to having this website store my submitted information so they can respond to the exercise.



Having a real coffee

The origin of coffee.

There are two myths about coffee in Mexico. One says that it was brought by the Spaniards as a tree in the Caravels that the conquerors used to arrive in Mexico. The other says that the seeds were brought by the black slaves from Africa. Whatever the myth is, we have and enjoy the original coffee, the Arabic Original. The ‘Arabic original’ is the name given to the first coffee that arrived in Mexico.

Here in the south few things have changed in the past five centuries, and coffee is one of them. We have had the same coffee that arrived centuries ago. For some this is bad, for me, this is something good. I taste the real coffee, one that hasn’t been manipulated like the ones that are planted and grown in other countries such as Brazil or Colombia.

Plus. in my family coffee is still processed traditionally as in the old times.

Mode of Process:

Seeds are cleaned before being toasted. Then the seeds are toasted in a clay comal. (A round piece of clay). The process of toasting is slow with a slow fire, so it takes almost an hour to get the right colour. Not brown not black, something in the middle. If it is brown you don’t get the perfect flavour, it is too black it gets a burnt smell and taste. That’s why the process of toasting is the most critical if you want to have a really good coffee.

Grinding is the last step. Here also the grinding is in some way critical. The coffee should not be too pounded nor too grainy. If it is too pounded the perfumed smell fades away too soon and coffee has to be kept for a period of time. If it is too grainy the taste and smell doesn’t release quite enough.
In conclusion enjoying a real coffee is hard work. The clay comal and the hand mill are the two main tools to have a good coffee and a beautiful day .

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Guacamole & The Superbowl

Teodoro Catalan Nava, who lives in Mexico, explores the mysterious combination of words and food.

I am Teodoro Catalan Nava from a small town in the upper mountains of Guerrero, Mexico and also a teacher ‘wannabe’. Currently in the last module of a TEFL program at University of Dayton. An online program that starts and ends face to face in Mexico City every year. As part of this program I’m teaching in a primary school to 6th graders, every Wednesday. And as such I will write about a Mexican dish that is the most iconic in the Superbowl feast that is celebrated today on American soil. The Guacamole is a pre-hispanic dish but also an appetizer that is made of: of course aguacates (avocados) a word that is rooted in the Nàhuatl Language, the language of the Mexicas who ruled and constructed the great city of Tenochtitlan which is now known as Mexico City. Other ingredients are onions, cilantro, tomato, chilli and salt to your liking. Tomato or (jitomate) is also a Nàhual word. Tomate and (Ji) which means red. In consequence the word jitomate means (red tomato) in Spanish.

A Molcajete:

Here in Mexico Guacamole is traditionally prepared in a Molcajete a type a bowl made of volcanic stone and is also a Nàhualt word, (molli) means salsa (caxitl) cajete a concave form, the complete word in Nàhuatl is (mollicaxtli). How a simple dish or appetizer became the iconic food of the Superbowl? Simple as every food crosses boundaries with the immigrants. The same story of most dishes in North America, Pizza, Hamburgers and even Apple Pie. When the migrants started crossing the borders; food, traditions and customs arrive with them. Mole, Guacamole, Pozole, Tacos are some the many examples of Mexican food that now are part the Mexican cuisine in the US. In every Mexican restaurant in the US, Guacamole is a must as an appetizer to every visitor with another ingredient Nachos. Nachos are cut pieces of toasted tortilla which are to be eaten but also serve as spoon. Basically, this is the short story of the iconic Guacamole and the Superbowl a food that is culturally interrelated with sport. Not any sport but the most iconic sport of the United States of America. So iconic that the Cambridge Dictionary published a Superbowl word list that includes the words Guacamole and Nachos.

Here I include the wordlist for further inquiries. Click on this link to read it.

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En cliquant sur "Send", vous acceptez le fait que vos données inscrites ci-dessus seront utilisées par Frank Peters, Peters-Langues dans le but pour lequel ce formulaire a été mis en place. Aucune donnée ne sera utilisée dans un autre but, sans votre consentement éclairé, ni ne sera communiquée à un tiers. Vous pouvez à chaque instant demander l'accès, la modification ou la suppression de ces données en nous écrivant. /// Ich bin damit einverstanden, dass diese Website meine übermittelten Informationen speichert, damit sie auf meine Mitteilung antworten kann. /// I consent to having this website store my submitted information so they can respond to the exercise.