France is famed for its abundant and delicious varieties of cheese. There are hundreds of spectacular kinds to look forward to indulging in during French river cruises, but there are certain fromages that you simply have to taste in your lifetime. Here is a guide to some of the spectacular highlights - prepare to be wowed. |
Camembert de Normandie au Lait Cru
A true pungent delicacy, this delightful smelly cheese originates from a young farmer in the eighteenth century. Marie Harel’s original recipe, however, has been tried by relatively few people. Don’t miss out on the chance to taste this unpasteurised, buttery Camembert roasted in the oven, while you’re in Normandy.
Le Crémeux du Mont Saint-Michel
This double cream cheese is made by adding full fat cream to the curds during production. Rich, chalky, tender and buttery, you will be able to distinguish notes of mushroom and cream as you eat. It’s truly mouth watering and one taste is never enough.
Those on a romantic French river cruise getaway will love Neufchâtel. The nutty cow’s milk cheese is served in a heart shape, and legend has it that young ladies would offer it to English soldiers in the tenth century, as a sign of their affection.
La Fleur du Marquis
Herb-encrusted (and occasionally mould-dusted), La Fleur du Marquis is packed with aromatic flavour. Made with unpasteurised ewe’s milk, the sweet cheese promises hints of nuts, crème fraîche, buttermilk and honey. It has been produced by hand on Corsica since the 1950s, with the flavoursome rind being composed of the wild herbs that grow on the island.
One of France’s beautiful dry cheeses, Comté has been traded worldwide since the Middle Ages. French river cruises are the perfect opportunity to sample the Vieux Comté variety. This aged version promises stronger flavours as well as a saltier and nuttier aftertaste.
Coulommiers au Lait Cru
Coulommiers has been made in the Seine et Marne since the early Middle Ages. Related to the Brie, this cheese is soft, compact and light. It is somehow tastier for your palate and is especially delicious when eaten with onion marmalade and paired with a good glass of red.
Washed rind cheeses tend to have powerful aromas but surprisingly mild flavours. Le Soumaintrain is no exception to this rule. When young, its centre will be firm and acidic, but as it ripens the wheel will become oozy and delightfully creamy.
There will be plenty of opportunity for you to sample different cheeses both off and on the boat during French river cruises. There is nothing quite like sampling the country’s best cheeses on deck, basking in the sun and enjoying a view over the locale where they are made. It is highly recommended that if you’re booking French river cruises you choose a reputable operator to truly make the most of your experience.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury French river cruises. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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