List of French cheeses
This is a list of French cheeses documenting the varieties of cheeses, a milk-based food that is produced in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms, which are found in France. In 1962, French President Charles de Gaulle asked, "How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?" There is immense diversity within each variety of cheese, leading some to claim closer to anywhere between 1,000 to 1,600 distinct types of French cheese. French cheeses are broadly grouped into eight categories, 'les huit familles de fromage'.
Protected designation of origin
Under the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, certain established cheeses, including many French varieties, are covered by a protected designation of origin (PDO), and other, less stringent, designations of geographical origin for traditional specialities, such as the French appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system, the Italian denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) system, and the Spanish Denominación de origen system.
French cheese production is classified under four categories, and PDO/AOC rules dictate which category or categories each protected cheese may be assigned to:
- Fermier: farmhouse cheese, which is produced on the farm where the milk is produced.
- Artisanal: producer producing cheese in relatively small quantities using milk from their own farm, but may also purchase milk from local farms.
- Coopérative: dairy with local milk producers in an area that have joined to produce cheese. In larger coopératives quantities of cheese produced may be relatively large, akin to some industriel producers (many may be classed as factory-made).
- Industriel: factory-made cheese from milk sourced locally or regionally, perhaps all over France (depending on the AOC/PDO regulations for specific cheeses).
Some cheeses are classified, protected, and regulated under French law. The majority are classified as Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), the highest level of protection. Some are also protected under the less stringent but still legally regulated designation Label Régional (LR). A few French cheeses are protected under the European Union's Protected Geographic Indication designation (PGI). Many familiar generic types, like Boursin, are not covered, while others originally from other countries, such as Emmental cheese, may have certain varieties protected as a French cheese. This list differs from those of AOC status.
- Les Mots du Général, Ernest Mignon (1962))
- "Quelles sont les grandes familles de fromages ? - Module fromage - Sommaire - Tout savoir sur le fromage - Fromages et Nutrition - Institut Fromages & Santé". Institut-fromages-et-sante.com. 2009-02-25. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
- Masui, T.; Tomoko, Y.; Hodgson, R.; Robuchon, J. (2004). French Cheeses. DK. ISBN 1-4053-0666-1.
- Barthélemy, Roland; Sperat-Czar, Arnaud (2004). Cheeses of the world. Hachette Illustrated (London). ISBN 1-84430-115-X.
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