French Embassy, CNIEL and EU co-host a cheese-tasting event

French and European cheese pairing soirée.

New Delhi, 28 October 2015

The Embassy of France, CNIEL (French umbrella organization for the dairy industry), and the European Union co-hosted a French and European cheese pairing soirée as part of “The Cheeses of Europe” campaign, organized and presented by the European Union and CNIEL.
15 different cheeses were on offer.

Widely considered as the best cheese-producing countries globally, European Union Member States boast artisans and major producers that create the finest dairy products, with France leading both in terms of consumption and international exposure.

H.E. Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, delivered the welcome note on this occasion, while Mr Laurent Damiens, CNIEL Communications Director, presented the event, which was held on Wednesday, 28 October 2015 at the Residence of France.

The evening was an exciting epicurean experience for all the senses, featuring:

  • Cheese and spices pairing by award-winning best cheesemonger of France Xavier Thuret, who will introduce a variety of delicious cheeses with a unique twist; and
  • Exclusive Indian cheese recipes by Chef Sanjay Chowdhury, Director - Dining Experience at Qla, New Delhi, highlighting perfect matches between cheese and Indian flavours.

The dairy industry of the European Union, the most productive and successful globally, is highly regulated to guarantee the consumer only the best. In France, for example, this is done by CNIEL (French Dairy Inter-Branch Organisation), a privately-run entity that promotes dairy products and facilitates interfacing between dairy producers and processors. There are similar organizations in other European Union Member States, which ensure that European cheeses produced are always of the highest quality.

Cheesemaking is an ancient artisanal process. Legend has it that cheese was serendipitously made by an Arab merchant who stored milk in a sheep’s stomach pouch and travelled across the desert. That night he discovered that the milk had separated into solid curd and liquid whey, caused by the rennet (enzymes found in the stomachs of milk-fed animals) in the sheep’s stomach and the heat of the day.

Europe may now be the centre of cheesemaking but travellers from Asia probably introduced the process, with the mighty Roman Empire also helping spread cheesemaking throughout its territories. In the Middle Age, European monasteries started experimenting and producing different types of cheese. There are records of Gorgonzola being made in Northern Italy in 879 AD and Roquefort in France in 1070 AD.

Perpetuating the excellence of this illustrious legacy, Europe remains the epicentre of the cheese industry. The majority of these products is consumed locally in Europe, although newer markets are increasingly emerging as consumers become more knowledgeable and adventurous with their palate.

The four types of cheese:

  • Soft: Ripened from the outside in, with a white rind, often runny at room temperature. Examples: Brie, Camembert, Reblochon, Mont d’Or
  • Semi-soft: Smooth or creamy interior with little or no rind. Flavours range from mild to pungent. Examples: Raclette, Abondance, Morbier, Port Salut
  • Hard: Firm texture with tastes ranging from mild to pungent; easy to grate. Examples: Emmental, Beaufort, Mimolette, Tomme de Savoie
  • Blue: Green or blue veining caused by the addition of the mould penicillium roqueforti during production. Examples: Saint Agur, Bleu de Auvergne, Bleu de Gex

Last modified on 31/10/2015

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