Fromage Fort Is a Cheesy Spread Made From Wine, Cheese, and Butter

Cheese, butter, wine—name a more iconic trio.

The only thing better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy to make that you don’t even need one. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where we talk you through the process of making the dishes and drinks we can make with our eyes closed.

My parents are notorious cheese hoarders. There is never a time when I’m at their house and their cheese drawer isn’t overflowing with Havarti for my mom and a sharp Irish or Australian cheddar for my dad, plus whatever called their names at the grocery store that week.

Unfortunately I’ve inherited this trait. I can’t resist combing through any “just-enough” cheese bin and taking one or two home with me. But when a regular cheese-and-cracker combo isn’t hitting the spot anymore, or I have a leftover hunk from a recipe and I don’t know what to do with the rest, fromage fort is my savior. Quite literally meaning “strong cheese” in French, it is the divine combination of cheese, butter, and wine. Blended up with the allium or herbs of your choice, it becomes an impossibly addictive and infinitely adaptable spread, and though it feels posh, the only thing you need to make it is a food processor.

It requires about 8 oz. cheese, room temperature (you can always do more, but depending on the size of your food processor, you may have a hard time doing less). Part of the fun is figuring out which cheeses to play against each other. In general bluer, funkier, or saltier cheeses will have a more dominating flavor than milder cheeses, so use less of them if you want the flavors of any other cheeses to come through. Try balancing 1 or 2 oz. of your blue or funky cheese with 3 or 4 oz. of something mild and buttery, like Muenster or Gouda, and round out the rest with familiar fridge standbys like goat cheese, Parmesan, or cheddar. Grate any harder cheeses and cube or crumble softer cheeses. If you want to add garlic—and you do—give a clove a rough chop. Continue reading “Fromage Fort Is a Cheesy Spread Made From Wine, Cheese, and Butter”

French cheesemaker accidentally creates new ‘lockdown’ cheese


A French cheesemaker has created a new type of cheese after he forgot about items stored in his cellar during the lockdown.

Lockdown has been difficult for many of France’s artisan cheesemakers as sales collapsed when markets, restaurants and workplace canteen throughout the country closed down.

One cheesemaker in the Vosges area was left with many unsold munster cheeses on his hands, so he stored some in the cellar and forgot about them.

But when Lionel Vaxelaire, who owns 25 cows and converts all their milk into the strong-smelling, soft white munster cheese, rediscovered his cheeses, he found something interesting.

They had developed a greenish-grey flowery rind and a completely new flavour.

He told local French news: “We left about 60 munsters at the bottom of the cellar. We even forgot about them a bit. After a month of maturing, we tasted one that had new flavours!

“It lies between our Munster and a Camembert type. It’s chalky inside, with a greyish, mottled flowery rind. It took all the flora of our whole raw milk and the flora of the cellar.
Continue reading “French cheesemaker accidentally creates new ‘lockdown’ cheese”

The 5 Stinkiest Cheeses in France


Why are some French cheeses so…smelly? Does a strong smell mean a strong taste? Here are some of the strongest-smelling cheeses of France.

Some cheeses have a distinctive, shall we say, aroma. And why not? Cheese is old milk, after all. But why do some cheeses have a strong smell and not others? It comes down to the way they are made.

Cheese starts as milk — cow, sheep or goat — to which cultures of bacteria are added. Certain cheeses rely heavily on brevibacterium linens (b. linens) which is also the bacteria responsible for, yes, body odor. So when someone describes a cheese as smelling like old gym socks, they’re not kidding!

B. linens thrives in moisture, which is why hard cheeses have mild odors while moister, creamier cheeses are often the strongest smelling. Not only that, some cheeses have their rinds washed throughout the aging process, keeping them moist — a perfect environment for b. linens to go forth and multiply.

And then there’s mold, the not-so-secret ingredient behind some of the world’s most odiferous cheeses. “Moldy” is not what most people consider a good smell. And when mold is put into a cheese, like the famous bleus of France, and then left in a moist cave to ripen for months… mon dieu, open the window so we can get some fresh air!

Is a strong smell the mark of a strong cheese? Not necessarily. Some cheeses, like the famous Époisses of Burgundy, have pungent odors but mild tastes. This is true of many washed-rind cheeses, where the powerful aroma comes from the rind and not the creamy interior. Blue cheeses are a different matter because the mold is throughout the cheese, giving every bite a strong flavor. Continue reading “The 5 Stinkiest Cheeses in France”

France told to eat more cheese to save dairy industry amid coronavirus

Fromagissons,” which means “Let’s act for cheese.”


The citizens of France have been told it’s their patriotic duty to eat more cheese.

After a fall in sales due to COVID-19, the dairy industry has put out a collective call for French people to increase their consumption of brie, camembert, reblochon, and more. 

According to a press release by France Terre de Lait, the French dairy industry, sales of certain cheeses in France have dropped 60%. This is largely due to the closure of markets, cheese-mongers, and restaurants, and quarantined people denying themselves their most pleasurable foods and instead only buying the basics.

Continue reading “France told to eat more cheese to save dairy industry amid coronavirus”

French wine, cheese targeted in latest Trump trade fight

French wine tariff

Industry groups are sounding the alarm on President Trump’s proposal to hit $2.4 billion in French goods with tariffs, warning that the latest trade salvo will affect a broad array of goods and its effects fall on U.S. consumers and small businesses.

The administration has proposed tariffs on a wide number of French products, including cheese, sparkling wine and Champagne, beauty products, handbags and home goods, in retaliation for a French tax on online services that targets American tech giants such as Google and Amazon.

Trade watchers warned the scope of the tariffs would be broad and lead to stark price hikes for consumers.

In 2018, the average tariff rate on French imports was 2.9 percent, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Under Trump’s tariffs, new taxes could be up to 100 percent for many goods. Continue reading “French wine, cheese targeted in latest Trump trade fight”