Thursday, 5 March 2015

Level Cheese Playing Field?



If you live in any European country other than France, you will have noticed that your local supermarket's cheese department offers a huge selection of Gallic cheeses. Everything from Camembert to Chevre, and Roquefort to Reblochon.

But when I visit my own French supermarket (here in France) I find JUST ONE UK CHEESE on offer. A reasonably pleasant Scottish 'Seriously Strong' Cheddar.

Seeing as France produces about 365 different cheeses and the UK over 700, it does seem as if that wonderful egalitarian European playing field has been tilted légèrement towards the south.

Can anyone give a logical explanation? 

p.s. re other national cheeses. Italy is represented by Parmesan (blocks and grated), Holland is represented by Edam and Gouda, and Switzerland by something rubbery with holes in it. Otherwise; nothing 'foreign' gets a look-in.



25 comments:

  1. I always assumed france would have more types than us. When ever I go to France the first thing I do is go buy some cheese and salami with a French stick and eat it.
    I love their soft cheeses but wouldn't be without my cheddar or Cheshire cheese. A french conspiracy by the sounds of it!

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    1. A Frenchman must be Minister of Cheese at Brussels.

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  2. I am not very adventurous when it comes to cheese and only buy three or four types - the supermarket these days stocks all sorts of weird and wonderful varieties - but I have to say a strong cheddar is my favourite.

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    1. Not many cheeses can beat a really good Cheddar.

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  3. Agreed about cheddar. It takes a lot to beat a good mature cheddar. I think it's a cultural thing in France in that they couldn't possibly imagine anything other than French cheese being any good. It's like trying to find decent new world wines in France - Lidl was about the only place with anything like a selection.

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    1. Good cheese in a Lidl store ???? Are you dreaming ?

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    2. Read it again. I was talking about new world wines in the French Lidl stores.

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  4. Just an Edam lookalike here and something similar to Dairylea.

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  5. Our local deli, and also our cheese ladyon the market, is very good but my gripe is that all the cheeses (well over 100) are precut and cling-filmed. Would agree only Gouda and Edam from The Netherlands and one holey one from Switzerland and a huge lot of French cheese. I really don't think that the pre-packed cheddar has anything like the taste of a good strong one bought around Cheddar Gorge from a good cheesmaker, but I think most folk seem to like what I think of as insipid cheese.

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  6. There is a simple explanation: The French agricultural lobby is the most powerful in the world. They take protectionism to such extremes that farmers are allowed to bring Paris to a standstill by driving sheep up the Champs Elysees if they don't get their own way.

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  7. The French are arrogant enough only to show their cheese's, the British love choice and would have all types of cheese's from around the world, and then sell the popular ones.

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  8. I think that the UK gets a bit of a bum deal when it comes to food. We have some of the best cheese, seafood and beef in the world { I think the French, on the quiet, have even admitted that our cheese is very good } Bath Blue was voted the best cheese in the world 2014 !! ….. the French do lots of other foody things better. Perhaps the French just can't bear to put our cheeses alongside theirs !!!!

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    1. When English Apple cider brandy recently came FIRST in a blind testing competition, it was disqualified because it wasn't produced in Normandy. Says a lot!

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  9. Why discuss about all this ? Cheese is a question of personal taste , like almost for everything. A strong cheddar is delicious and a good roquefort too.

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    Replies
    1. This isn't about personal taste, but national protectionism.

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  10. Even in my little backwater town in Oklahoma, I can get several types of UK butter and cheeses. Now that I think of it, I can get more UK items than French.

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  11. Gosh even New Zealand has a better selection of 'foreign' cheeses. Ironically, not many French ones. Perhaps we still remember the Rainbow Warrior bombing.

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  12. That is probably right, Kate. It's not hard to find some good imported cheeses in the supermarket. But NZ is finally getting round to making some pretty decent cheeses of its own, though we haven't mastered a decent Parmesan type yet.

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  13. I wish we got even cheddar!!! Nothing British in the Carrefour I go to!

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