I love cheese. And I mean REAL cheese, not American Processed Cheese Food. As a campaign to enlighten Americans to the elegance of European Cheese, (of the French cow’s milk variety), I’m taking part in the “Make it Magnifique” campaign. The goal is to show American consumers that you can go from “Great” to “Magnifique” by using some of these fabulous cheeses in your regular recipes calling for cheese. No need to be a gourmet cook, just add a fabulous cheese to your tired old recipes and truly ramp up the flavor. It’s amazing what an elegant cheese can do for grilled cheese sandwiches, mac & cheese, or just cheese crumbles on your steak or salad.
I received Fourme D’Ambert cheese, Camembert, and Mimolette – and I had a tough time deciding which one to feature in a recipe. Because I had some yummy Artisan Bread, a garden fresh Heirloom Tomato, some fresh spinach, and a pesto sauce on hand, I chose to make a grilled panini with the Mimolette. Mimolette is a hearty cheese from Normandy. It looks kind of like a cantaloupe with whole. It’s superhard, but the taste is unbelievably tender and full bodied. I learned that it’s aged 22 months and the rind is the work of tiny mites called affineurs which aid in the aging process (not to worry – the mites are gone when the cheese goes to market). The aging process give the cheese a floral aroma, with a deep orange color and somewhat smokey flavor. You might compare it to Edam, but with the rich full color of pumpkin. My grilled cheese sandwich was “off the charts” yummy. I don’t know if I can ever eat a plain old grilled cheese again.
The Camembert was creamy and buttery and tasted so good on a wedge of Artisan Bread. If you know anything about cheese, you know that some of the best cheeses come from raw cow’s milk, but then the work of fungi helps the cheese mature, ripen and develop a rind which makes shipping easier. Le Chatelain Camembert comes in the traditional little wooden box.
Fourme d ‘Ambert is a type of bleu veined cheese. I used to be pretty scared of bleu cheese/ Roquefort, but if you try Fourme d’Ambert, a cousin of Roquefort, you’ll find the distinct spicy flavor much more mild and pleasing to the palette. It’s amazing on steak or a salad. Fourme d ‘Ambert is one of France’s oldest cheeses, dating back to Roman Times. It’s aged for at least 4 weeks which brings out the velvety mouthful of sweet cream, and earthy mushroomy flavor.
The next time you’re in the market for a nice cheese, try a French Cheese. It’s worth it.
- 2 thick slices firm Artisan Bread
- 2 slices Heirloom tomato
- 2 thin slices Mimolette cheese
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1 Tbs pesto spread
- 3 leaves fresh spinach
- Butter the outside of both bread slices.
- Spread inside of one slice of bread with pesto spread
- layer tomato, cheese and spinach on bread
- Place on panini press for 3-6 min or desired doneness. Or cook in skillet til bread is tender-crisp. Enjoy with fresh fruit slices.
Here’s my recipe for an off the charts grilled cheese sandwich.