Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Fourme d'Ambert


One of my food resolutions for the new year was to try new cheeses, as I’d fallen into a tasty, if predictable, habit of sticking with a few long-established favourites. Accordingly, on my first January visit to the fromagerie, I picked out two sheep’s milk cheeses at random. I was smugly gratified when they turned out to be so obscure that I could find no information about them on the internet. They were tasty enough, but apparently not so memorable, as I can no longer recall either their names or taste profiles.

So when purchasing for a small dinner party last Sunday, I returned to a reliable guest-pleaser that I’d be pleased to nibble at the rest of the week. Fourme d’Ambert is a blue cows’ milk cheese from the Auvergne, a rural region in south-central France. One of France’s oldest cheeses (some date its production back to the Roman period), Fourme d’Ambert takes its name from the old French word for cheese (derived from the Latin “forma”, meaning form or shape) and a town on the eastern plateau. Made in a tall cylindrical shape, usually with pasteurized milk, it is cellar-aged for a minimum of one month. During this time, it develops a thin, dry grey/white crust, and creamy-white coloured interior with even blue veining.

Described on its official website as le plus doux des fromages bleus (the sweetest blue cheese), Fourme d’Ambert has little of the aggressive tang or bitterness which characterizes other blue cheeses. (Certain specimens are even injected with vouvray moulleux, a white dessert wine, during ageing.) Its texture is dense, creamy, and slightly sticky at times, while the taste is round and nutty. It is likeable, moreish even, but neither insipid nor one-dimensional. I’d happily eat it alone for dessert or a snack, but it also pairs nicely with walnuts and hazelnuts, autumnal fruit and root vegetables. And the price, at least in France, is gentle, all the more reason—resolution be damned!—to keep it on the shortlist.

Head over to Chez Loulou around the 15th for her monthly round-up, Fête du Fromage. I’ll be there, along with other tasty options for raising your Vitamin D intake.

7 comments:

Loulou said...

One of my favorite French blue cheeses!
Thanks for your entry. Hope to see you again next time!

croquecamille said...

Fourme d'Ambert is one of my favorites, too! I find it's a good one to cook with as well, since the milder flavor doesn't become overpowering when warmed up.

Shira said...

Thanks for your comments! So glad I still have some left in the fridge.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I do enjoy blue cheeses and this one sounds wonderful.

Maggie B said...

We love blue veined cheese and we enjoy Fourme d'Ambert, especially when we can't get our hands on an English stilton.
~Maggie~

Gelareh said...

I definately need to try new cheese. I stick to the same old same old everytime.. just because it is safe.

黃金獵犬 said...

Haste makes waste...................................................