Friday, March 23, 2018

All About European Cheese | An European Cheese Raclette

Your guide to European Cheese
Just yesterday, I had the privilege to experience a cheese tasting session, and im not talking about your ordinary cheese. It was an honor to be present at the European Cheese Raclette to experience a gastronomic satisfying world of molten cheese. I'll be honest that the only cheese that im familiar with is usually either cheddar or mozzarella, but this entire experience has given me a chance to experience cheese differently. I always liked my cheese melted, but I've learned that not all cheese melt better than others, allowing different flavors, taste, and texture that oozes out uniquely in its own way.  And so, in this post, im sharing with you the things I've learned about European Cheese.

The cheese expert for the day
Present during the private session, we had Chef Pierre Gay, a cheese master, cheese connoisseur and an expert from France who was nice to share his extensive knowledge on European cheese through this Raclette party jointly organized by the French Interbranch Dairy Organization and European Union to promote the pre-eminence and finesse of European Cheese, or shall i say 'Magnifique fromage' (magnificent cheese).

Fun Fact: Raclette a concept that melts cheese in a Raclette machine, and can be easily recreated at home to be enjoyed with friends and family. 

The Experience

It's time to get cheesy!
Before our tasting session started, we had Chef Pierre Gay emphasizing to us to enjoy the sensation of watching the cheese melt and being scraped over the food as a part of the sensory experience of a Raclette. Raclette is a fairly new concept in Malaysia and this is an experience not to be missed! The secret to choosing the right cheese for a Raclette is the moisture content according to this equation 'more moisture the cheese has = the better it melts'. And to exactly find out how it melts, I managed to get a little hands on, on particularly 9 different variety of cheese!


Camembert Cheese
Camembert has a creamy milky texture that would be very addictive if you're already a fan of cheese
The Camembert comes in a box, which you can choose to bake directly or to slice it up and melt the cheese to enjoy its moist, soft, creamy, milky texture. The one that I tried particularly had a bittersweet taste which tastes amazing when eaten with just bread. Its creamy, and a great starter to even enjoy with pickles too!


The Reblochon Cheese
Melt it with your choice of condiments. 
The Reblochon is made by mixing milk from three different breeds of cows, namely abondance, taurine, and montbeliarde. This had a very interesting taste when it enjoyed when it's melted. I was actually surprised that this did not taste salty at all, and it does give your mouth that gastronomic feeling of enjoying a slice of Reblochon.


Scarmoza, one of the sexies cheese i've seen
And when it's melted, you'll get a taste of heaven
The Scamoza comes from an Italian cow milk cheese. This particularly has one of the most familiar tastes of milky cheese that has a chewy texture that would dance in your mouth as you enjoy the taste of cheese. I tasted it when it's melted, and I have to admit that cheese never tasted so good! This would have to be a favorite of mine if I ever go to the grocery store to look for cheese.

Brie De Meaux

Brie De Meaux, unique and sour
Now, Brie De Meaux is a little more interesting. After tasting the first 3 variety of cheese, I found the Brie De Meaux a little strong to my liking. It's not bad, just that its one of the strongest, sourish cheese I've ever tasted ever. It tasted pretty good if you enjoy it with sweeter condiments like fruits or chicken, but on its own, I found it really strong. Not a fan, but if you've never tried it before, then you have nothing to lose.


Raclette Cheese
Best enjoyed when melted
The Raclette would be another favorite of mine as its pretty similar to the Scarmoza. It has a chewy texture that I love, and best eaten with practically anything! I melted mine and enjoyed it with some smoked beef, and gosh, I am loving every bit of it! For those who are not so adventurous in tasting cheese, I would recommend you to consider Raclette as its very easy to taste and to love. The Raclette cheese is usually enjoyed as fondue dips and due to its pH level, it has the perfect melting point resulting in a molten liquid that can hold its shape at the same time.

Saint Nectaire

The Saint Nectaire
Enjoy it melted or as it is
The Siant Nectaire can be enjoyed either melted or as it is in its raw format, depending on your preference.When melted, it has a light salty taste compared to when eaten raw. I prefer it melted as it will have this stringy texture that has a balance of a salty and bitterish taste.

Comte Cheddar

Comte Cheddar anyone?
Just look at how juicy it is when it's melted
The Comete Cheddar is the cheese that takes about 2 years to make, and its usually only made during summer. This is a saltier version of cheese, and I believe very similar to cheddar cheese, and surprisingly, when you enjoy this melted, it would taste slightly sweeter and juicy in comparison to when enjoying it raw. It is a kind of Cheddar cheese, but this is particularly made in France.

Fourme D'Ambert

Fourme D'Ambert
Also known as Blue Cheese, the Fourme D'ambert would be your worst nightmare when you get a sniff, but honestly it has a very pleasant taste. To describe the taste, I would have to say that it had a unique salty milky taste that goes really well when eaten with pickled condiments, meat, and even fruits. It may look scary, but trust me when I say don't judge a book by its cover.


Goude, your favorite cheese to snack on
And to end our tasting session, we ended with the Gouda cheese which came from the Netherlands. It takes 2 whole years to make this cheese, and its best eaten raw. It has a solid form like Cheddar cheese, but when it comes to taste, it tasted less salty. A personal opinion would be that its a nice cheese to snack on as the taste isn't too strong and great for those who love to snack on cheese cubes. Hehe.


A mandatory photo of the French Men Cheese Experts
All in all, I would have to say that im blessed with the privilege of tasting and learning all about European Cheese. Trust me, if you have tasted real cheese in a Raclette manner, you will automatically have a different impression towards cheese when you see a plate of cheese being served at a buffet. I never knew that cheese can be so intricate, especially when you are tasting different varieties of cheeses, in different preparations with different condiments. European cheeses are always of the highest quality and the best cheese products are readily available to the consumers in Malaysia. So now that you know at least 9 different types of cheese, you can organize your own Raclette Party and get ready to melt into an epicurean journey with the worlds best cheese at home.

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