Cheese in Paris?

I was in Paris in December of 2007 for a few days and had the most amazing cheese. It was in a quiche and a gnocchi dinner that I had (both on the Isle St. Luis by happenstance). I have no idea what cheese it was, but I could distinctly tell it was the same cheese flavor in both dishes. I have tried to track the cheese down since, with no luck. I am not much of a cheese connoiseur, but I would describe the cheese as having quite a bit of tang and a very smooth flavor, almost like a sharp brie.

Any one have any idea what this tantalizing cheese may have been? The only cheese I have been able to identify as typically Parisian is camembert, but the version that I have been able to track down in the States tasted like a very mild brie.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2900 posts

Some of the French cheeses sold in the States don't taste like the ones in France. Camembert is one that tastes much better in France. The U.S. does not allow cheese made with unpasteurized milk unless it has been aged 60 days. When you buy Camembert in the U.S., it has been made with pasteurized milk while in France it is made with raw milk.

Another possibility ... could it have been a goat cheese (chevre)?

I know this doesn't answer your question, but maybe it is a good reason to go back to Paris and try more cheese :)

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

YOu do realize there are hundreds of cheeses. Good luck with guessing, LOL

It perhaps was gruyere, I doubt very much if it was camembert( that would be wrong ,, to cook such a cheese, LOL ) . It could have even been swiss.

Cheese is apparently not a tradional item in Quiche, at least according to Julia Child, but what does she know.. I have seen recipes calling for "American Cheese" and I am never sure what the heck that even is( is it Kraft slices?)

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4768 posts

Pat is right, I have not seen recipes for quiche that call for Camembert or brie. I have been known to cook for a living and that just sounds unusual.

I think the goats cheese sounds more like it.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3410 posts

I agree with Pat that if it was in a quiche it was probably Gruyere, though Gruyere is Swiss, not French. Conté cheese is very like it and comes from the same geographical area but on the French side of the border. At least that's what my cheese guy here told me.

Posted by Bill
San Leandro, CA, USA
631 posts

Pat...not sure what Julia meant...after all, the classic quiche is Quiche Lorraine, which does indeed include swiss (or Guyere)cheese.

Posted by Kyleigh
Centennial, CO, USA
3 posts

Ooooh, how exciting! Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll have to try some conté and gruyere. It very well could have been a goat cheese, but it was nothing close to the feta that I have had here in the states.

I certainly will be going back to Paris for more cheese at some point, although it might be a few years.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4768 posts

Feta tastes nothing like goats cheese. Feta is supposed to be made of sheeps milk, but if you check your package, it is often made of cows milk and just tastes similar to the real thing. A Turkish guy working at a cheese factory in Germany, figured out the process and now this fake feta is everywhere.

Anyway, the two cheeses are very different in taste. Different goats cheeses taster different too. Especially if you compare the soft with the hard cheeses.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3410 posts

Kyleigh:I spelled the cheese I mentioned incorrectly. It is comté, with an "m", not an "n".

Posted by Denny
Columbus, OH, USA
733 posts

Chevre sounds like a good guess...it's tangy alright, and seems to have become rather trendy in the last few years so it shows up often. Too often for my money, but there you have it. Bon appetit!

Posted by Adam
Boston
2633 posts

Some cheese trivia. Lovely Camembert is not Parisian but Norman (though you will find it in Paris; pair it with apples, another Norman food.)

Gruyere is indeed a Swiss cheese, though the holey cheese most American's think of as "Swiss Cheese" is Emmenthal (many spelling variations). There are some very good French Gruyere-style cheeses.

If it tasted like a "sharp brie," maybe it was. The range of flavors in whole-milk bries is wider than that of the pasturized versions we get here.

Any cheese can be put in a quiche or gnocchi, even if not traditional, and it would not be out of character for a French chef to do something unusual.

An exasperated Charles DeGaulle is said to have complained, "Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays où il existe 258 variétés de fromage?" (that's "How would you like to govern a country where there are 258 kinds of cheese?")

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

Well Adam, I will have to disagree with you,, a chef does like to try some new things, but he will not slaughter a delicate ingredient like a lovely ripe Brie by cooking it in a quiche.. Soft unpasterized cheeses like Bries are best eaten solo,, with perhaps a crust of bread, c'est tout!

PS Most of us have poor palates,, I have watched a cooking show where even chefs had a hard time identifying many common ingredients if blind folded! It is much harder to tell a food only by taste, especially if one is not accustomed to it, or it is cooked in a recipe .. then it can be impossible.. ask my kids who all ate zuchinni and carrots in their chocolate cakes for years and did not know it! LOL

Posted by Donna
Portland, OR, USA
16 posts

Kayleigh, I don't have answer because we have yet to take our trip to France (this April 8th!) but all this talk of cheese is making me salivate.
Gads, I love the stuff. There won't be a fromagerie safe from me when I land in that country!
Do you recommend the restaurants you dined at in Isle St. Luis? If so what were they?
Thanks. Donna

Posted by Bea
OH, OH, USA
1157 posts

Oh boy! That would be hard to guess with so many kinds of cheeses in France.

Posted by Kyleigh
Centennial, CO, USA
3 posts

Donna - I would highly recommend the place we had dinner: Les Fous de l'Ile. It was by far the best meal I have ever had in my entire life. And that is ~not~ an exaggeration. It's at 33 Rue des Deux-Ponts.