In addition to four sensational cheeses from the Swiss Alps, you’ll receive a selection of cheese-loving accoutrements and a booklet with information on each cheese, tasting notes, and recommendations for pairing with food and wine.

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October 2023: To Brie, Or Not to Brie?

Fortunately, you don’t have to decide. This month, you get both: two distinct styles of brie and two equally rich and creamy brie-like cheeses from France and Italy.

In addition to the four cheeses, you receive a selection of cheese-loving accoutrements and a booklet with information on each cheese, tasting notes, and recommendations for pairing with food and wine.


France | Cow’s Milk | Pasteurized

While people often refer to any soft, spreadable cheese as “Brie” — and the term alone is not protected by the French government with an AOP designation — this is one of two that have protected status and embody what a true Brie is all about.

Brothers Luc and Jean-Philippe Dongé produce this “Brie de Meaux” in the town of Meuse in the Brie region of north-central France, just down the road from Meaux, where the cheese originated. With milk supplied by 30 local farms (pasteurized for the U.S. market), they use traditional production methods, like hand-ladling the milk into its molds, to produce what we consider the best representation of Brie available outside of France.

Brie de Meaux is produced in discs thinner and wider than Camembert, with an edible and flavorful bloomy rind. The flavor is earthy, savory, and vegetal, with a delightful buttery finish and a bit of a stronger flavor than the other cheeses on this month’s board. This staple is also incredibly versatile: bake it, snack on it, or make an amazing grilled cheese.

Flavor Profile: almond, mushroom, butter

Food Pairing: blackberry, sandwich bread (grilled cheese!)

Accoutrement Pairing: apple, honey

Wine Pairing: Loire Valley Chenin Blanc


France | Cow’s Milk | Pasteurized

The brothers Donge use the same 30 local farms to provide milk for this Triple Crème. Their interpretation of this relatively new (in cheese terms) style is supremely rich and creamy, boasting at least 75% butterfat in the dry matter of the cheese, which is more than any of the other cheeses featured this month.

Though the style originated in Normandy, similar Triple Crèmes are produced all over France, and the world, with great success, including several we carry on a rotating basis here at French Market: Brillat Savarin (hailed as the first ever produced), Delice de Bourgogne, Delice des Cremiers, Cambozola, and Pierre Robert. However, when it comes to buttery, creamy, and spreadable, this cheese is unmatched.

The rind really isn’t part of the fun here, but the tall interior paste makes it easy enough to scoop and spread onto a cracker or slice of baguette. And like most Triple Crèmes, this cheese goes well with sweet accompaniments, as well as tart ones that help cut through the seriously butter interior.

Flavor Profile: salt, butter, tang

Food Pairing: prosciutto, pear

Accoutrement Pairing: baguette, almond, green grape

Wine Pairing: Alsatian Riesling, Disznoko Tokaji


France | Cow’s Milk | Pasteurized

The spirit of cheese is a living thing ever evolving, just like cheese itself. As a result, new cheeses, and methods for its production, are being introduced all the time. Fromager d’Affinois from Fromagerie Guilloteau in the Rhone Alps of southeast France — perhaps the most ‘mass-produced’ cheese we’ve featured so far — is a perfect example.

Launched in the relatively near past of 1981, Fromager d’Affinois is produced using an innovative filtering process that yields milk richer in proteins and minerals. The result is an incomparably luscious and velvety texture that makes this cheese the ultimate crowd pleaser and consistently one of the most sought after cheeses in our case.

Despite being widely available, d’Affinois is a special cheese that you will always want to have around — whether for spreading on crackers or melting into a mind-blowing mac and cheese.

Flavor Profile: sweet, milky, mild

Food Pairing: cheesecake, strawberry

Accoutrement Pairing: raspberry conserve, flatbread cracker

Wine Pairing: Chablis Grand Cru, Beaujolais Gamay Noir


Italy | Cow’s Milk | Pasteurized

Noah’s Notes: 

We have gone to great lengths to be able to carry cheeses from Caseficio Dell’Alta Langa, produced in the Piedmont region of Italy. And though it took about three years to figure out how to make it happen, it was worth it, as this Robiola Bosina is one of our absolute favorites in the case.

In the mountainous terrain adjacent to Switzerland and France, many cheeses here are made with milk from a combination of cows, goats, and sheep. In this case, the cheese is a blend of cow and sheep’s milk, resembling brie but offering a completely distinct flavor profile.

Robiola Bosina isn’t aged for long and retains a sweet cream flavor that balances against the nutty sheep’s milk beautifully. When young, the cheese is delightful at breakfast spread on an english muffin, with jam to accentuate its sweetness. As it ages, the texture becomes runnier and the flavor a bit more pungent, though it always retains a pleasant milkiness that makes it a great pairing for any number of accoutrements.

Flavor Profile: earthy, fresh cream, sea salt

Food Pairing: mushroom, shallot, flatbread

Accoutrement Pairing: raspberry jam, crostini

Wine Pairing: Franciacorta, Lambrusco



For the second edition of the French Market Cheese Club, we bring you four fantastic cheeses from (or near) France — each with a flavor profile exhibiting distinct characteristics of its environment. 

In addition to the four cheeses, we’ve included a selection of cheese-loving accoutrements and a booklet with information on each cheese, tasting notes, and recommendations for pairing with food and wine. 


Entlebuch, Switzerland | Cow’s Milk | Unpasteurized

Noah’s Notes: 

Rockflower comes from Gourmino, a collective of Swiss cheesemakers preserving time-honored production and focusing on quality over quantity. This wheel is named after the yellow flowers that grow on the slopes of the Kleinstein dairy’s “home mountain,” 2,500 feet above the hamlet of Werthenstein in central Switzerland.

The cheesemakers mostly produce large wheels of Emmentaler (Swiss cheese to us), whose production is limited by law. When they hit their limit, they use locally procured milk (“fresh raw milk from happy cows, grazing on lush flower meadows) to experiment with much smaller wheels like this Rockflower.

Since they are accustomed to producing extremely large wheels of cheese, all of that milky flavor gets concentrated in the smaller wheels. The result is an exceptional cheese with balanced salt, delicate earthiness, and floral flavor.

Flavor Profile: cooked cream, pine nuts, umami

Food Pairing: fresh fruit, fall vegetables

Accoutrement Pairing: dried apricot, pickled shallots

Wine Pairing: Sangiovese (Corsica, Sicily), Cab Franc (Hungary)


Bourgogne, France | Cow’s Milk | Unpasteurized

This delightfully pungent classic is a quintessential example of this month’s theme of “taste of place.” Named after the town (yes, Epoisses) where it originated at the start of the 16th century, it remains today the pride andj oy of its fewer than 1,000 residents. On first glance (or smell), Epoisses can be a bit intimidating, but it really is a quite simple, straightforward cheese, and not nearly as potent in flavor as it is in odor.

Made with just cow’s milk and salt, it ages for at least six weeks and is washed with a mixture of brine and Marc de Bourgogne, a local pomace (byproduct of winemaking) brandy that encourages the growth of bacteria and yeast to produce the distinct orange color and smell.

Even after working with Epoisses for years and experiencing in all stages of ripeness, I don’t think I fully appreciated or understood the allure of this cheese until a recent trip to Omaha, Nebraska, of all places. There, a friend and I stumbled upon a charming French bistro with a handwritten specials board listing an item simply called “Epoisses.” Of course, we ordered it and received a little wheel of Epoisses with sliced bread and a bit of jam (all it really needs). Allured by the creamy, round interior and rich umami of the crazy rind, I devoured far too quickly, without any regrets.

Flavor Profile: garlic, mushroom, fruit

Food Pairing: fresh baguette, cumin seed

Accoutrement Pairing: honeycrisp apple, spicy jam

Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir (Burgundy), Merlot (Argentina)


Basque, France | Sheep’s Milk | Pasteurized

Last month we featured a cow’s milk cheese from the Basque region of France, a place where sheep’s milk reigns supreme. This time the milk is sheep, but the cheese is blue!

Urdiña is a new one for us, and a great exercise in experiencing “taste of place.” The Basque region is known for Manchego and other salty, nutty sheep’s milk cheeses, and Agour produces almost exclusively sheep’s milk cheese with natural rinds that impart a bit of umami flavor. When we went in for our first taste, we were prepared for the immediate salinity and delighted as it gave way to a creamy backbone and delightful tang from the blue. The natural rind reduces the overall moisture of the cheese a bit, but in turn provides a much more developed and full flavor profile that lends itself to this style of sheep’s milk cheese.

Urdiña is quickly becoming one of our favorites, with characteristics indicative of the place it is from, and a unique, approachable flavor.

Flavor Profile: nuts, spices, apricots

Food Pairing: green salad, grilled vegetables

Accoutrement Pairing: sour cherry, tart fruit compote

Wine Pairing: Trockenbeerenauslese, Reserve Tawny Port (Borges or Cruz House)


Pays de la Loire | Goat’s Milk | Pasteurized

One of our all-time favorites, Tomme de Chataigneraie is a beautiful cheese to behold on a board and backs up its good looks with a supremely distinct texture and wonderfully nuanced flavor. Produced on the western edge of the scenic Pays de la Loire in western France, the goats graze in a chestnut forest (chataigneraie).

Much like pigs eating acorns to produce nutty, delicious ham, the chestnuts contribute to the nutty flavor of this cheese. In our experience, the texture is uncommon for goat’s milk cheeses. It is firm enough to slice, but still soft and unctuous. The rind is a real showstopper on a board, with a vibrant orange-yellow rind attributed to the aging by Herve Mons, a cheese affineur we consider one of the true “rockstars” of the cheese world. To achieve this perfect crust, he acquires the cheese young and ages it for about three months.

We don’t carry anything else quite like this one, and it is one of the most approachable cheeses in the case, despite the intimidating rind!

Flavor Profile: smooth, herbal, chestnut, chestnut, and more chestnut
Food Pairing: mushroom, sage
Accoutrement Pairing: dried cranberry, dried cherry, almonds
Wine Pairing: Brut Champagne, Chablis


For the first edition of the French Market Cheese Club, we bring you four fantastic cheeses — each distinct in region and style — with three from France and one from Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast.

To accompany your cheeses, we’ve also included sweet-and-spicy pecans, dried mission figs, baguette, and a sensational mirabelle plum jam by Maison Perrotte in France.

But don’t let your imagination stop there. While cheese is certainly delicious on its own, there’s also no limit to what you can pair with it. We’ve provided some recommendations, but feel free to experiment and find your own favorite combinations.


Loire Valley, France | Goat’s Milk | Pasteurized

Noah’s Notes: 

Valencay is a great example of French goat cheese from the Loire Valley, which is known for its vineyards, orchards, and production of various goods.

The quality of the grass that these goats graze upon is reflected in the rich, round fullness of every bite of this classic cheese. This particular pyramid is produced by Jacquin and Sons. They collect all of their milk from 50 local farms within a 30-mile radius of their production facility, which hits a sweet spot in terms of artisan, local production on a scale large enough for the product to be exported, all at a reasonable price.

The original story of the Valencay ‘pyramid’ is that the cheese was altered when Napoleon returned from his defeat in Egypt. As to not offend him and remind him of the defeat, the pyramid was truncated. 

The cheese is balanced, with a natural ‘goat-y’ tang matched by its creamy backbone. The exterior is coated with a fully edible vegetable ash, which has many benefits in the production of the cheese, including: keeping insects and unwanted molds and microbes from calling the rind home, drying out the exterior of the rind, and balancing the pH of the rind which helps in the ripening process. In other words, ashed goat cheeses are great! Enjoy with a wide variety of accoutrements, dried fruit, nuts, jams, etc.

Flavor Profile: tangy, salty, creamy

Food Pairing: fresh beets, root vegetables, fresh greens, salad

Accoutrement Pairing: dried figs, honey, almonds

Wine Pairing: Loire Valley whites, Pinot Noir


Auvergne, France | Cow’s Milk | Pasteurized

This is one of our favorite blue cheeses. There are few blues that are so perfectly balanced and equally at home as an ingredient in a dish, topping for a salad, component of a cheeseboard, or spread on a piece of baguette as an afternoon snack.

It is also a great example of a few idiosyncrasies of the world of cheese today. As with many European cheeses, the name is simple and refers to the shape of the wheel (the ‘fourme’ a distinct tall narrow cylinder in this case) and the town where the cheese originated: Ambert. There it is! A cylinder of cheese from Ambert.

Fourme D’ambert also highlights the difference in price between a high-quality cheese produced in Europe and one produced right here in the United States. It’s difficult to imagine how a cheese that is produced in France, packaged, shipped across the ocean, shipped again to the midwest, and cut and packaged here before sale could cost about half of what many cheeses that are produced in this very country cost us.

Though the process and reasons for this are complex, I like to boil this down to one simple reason: Europe has been doing this a lot longer than we have! This is one of the oldest cheeses being produced in France and dates back as far as Roman times! Because they have been producing this cheese for so long in this same area, there is a great deal of infrastructure, knowledge, and support for its production. Essentially, the more volume of something you produce and sell, the less costly it becomes to make it. The French invest heavily in the production of cheese, protect certain varieties from becoming too industrialized, and eat lots of it! This makes the production of cheese akin to us growing corn, and keeps the cost low for a high-quality product. While this is all the more reason to buy more American made cheese and support producers of a high-quality product in our country, there’s no reason to not enjoy something that has been time-tested and has remained a favorite for so long. 

The cheese itself is ‘semi-firm’ and easily spreadable, but structurally sound enough to be cubed. The mouth feel is unctuous and creamy, with all the richness of a triple creme balanced by the sharp bite of the ‘blue.’ Extremely versatile, enjoy it with dried or fresh fruit, honey, and baguette. 

Flavor Profile: sharp, tangy, buttery, mushroom

Food Pairing: fresh fruit, salad topping

Accoutrement Pairing: honey

Wine Pairing: Port, Chenin Blanc


Pyrénées, France | Cow’s Milk | Pasteurized

The most obscure cheese of this month’s offering, Coeur Basque is a unique cheese with a very distinctive flavor profile. It is made in the very southwest of France, in the Iraty valley, which is known for its sheep’s milk cheeses. Sheep are the livestock animal of choice in these mountains, in the same region that Manchego is produced in Spain, so a cow’s milk cheese from this area is somewhat of an anomaly.

Coeur Basque is extremely difficult to find information about, and when searching the internet we have come across different sources that claim the cheese is aged for over a year. The producer, Onetik says “This is a one of a kind cheese with a dry texture, rough and pungent yet with a subtle charm much like the Basque country where it’s made.” They also state that it is aged for 6 months… 

The flavor is a bit vegetal, with a creamy mouthfeel that lingers. Grilled vegetables would compliment it well, and nuts will bring out a different side to this one. Enjoy something that may or may not be available to us for long.

Flavor Profile: tangy, milky, earthy

Food Pairing: fresh fruit, grilled vegetables (e.g. zucchini, asparagus)

Accoutrement Pairing: cured meats, spiced niuts, tart dried fruits

Wine Pairing: Loir Valley reds


Pag Island, Croatia | Sheep and Cow’s Milk | Pasteurized

The original plan for this month’s cheese club was to highlight exclusively French cheeses, and in this slot we had a cheese called Fleur du Maquis produced in Corsica.

Fleur du Maquis is a wonderful semi-firm cheese coated in herbs. We had been getting it regularly for a couple of months at French Market, and it had become a customer favorite that we were excited to feature in the club … until the FDA (or maybe USDA?) stepped in. Due to an unknown issue, probably having something to do with the herbs on the outside of the cheese, or a seemingly arbitrary production issue that the FDA had an issue with, Fleur du Maquis is now not being imported to the country and we have no idea when or if it will be back! We mention this to show that the world of cheese is complicated, and things come and go frequently. There are thousands and thousands of cheeses being produced all over the world that we will never taste in our lifetime, and though we are featuring specific cheeses through this club, cheese is an idea and should be approached with an open mind.

If there is a specific cheese you are after, especially something more obscure of course, keep in mind that it may not be available for any number of reasons, but also know that a good cheesemonger should be able to help you find something that is similar and may provide you with the joy that the one you sought gave you. 

In this case, the most appropriate substitute we could think of comes from another island off the Southern coast of Europe (Croatia), and is a blend of cow and sheep’s milk. Pag Island produces mostly sheep’s milk, with its location contributing to the salty, brine-y flavor of the cheese. Dalmatinac is a great find, easy to eat with a variety of accoutrements, and a favorite of anyone that ends up trying it in lieu of something more familiar, like Gouda. The salty bite is so pleasant, and balanced by the addition of creamy cow’s milk, that the cheese could lend itself to anything from a sandwich  to being featured on a global cheese board. To the point of our inability to procure the Fleur du Maquis, there is a thriving cheese culture and economy in virtually every European country, Croatia included, each with its unique characteristics. Enjoy!

Flavor Profile: buttery, nutty, sharp, herbal

Food Pairing: prosciutto, bruschetta, anything with tomato

Accoutrement Pairing: rosemary crackers, cured meat

Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, brown ale








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