The Families of French Cheese

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While there are eight broad families of French cheese, the same family can include cheese from different milk sources (cow, goat, sheep).

Fresh cheeses or white cheeses:
These have not been matured. Though they may have been moulded with a spoon, they have already set.
Examples: Petits Suisse, Fontainebleau

Soft cheeses with a soft rind or cheeses with surface maturation:
These are made from pasteurised or unpasteurised milk. You will find them covered in a white coating which the French call "white fluff" or "bloom."
Examples: Camembert, Brie, Chaource, Saint Michelin, Coulommiers

Soft cheeses with a washed rind:
These are made from either pasteurised or unpasteurised milk. They have matured for quite some time, and have been washed and brushed. As a result, they have acquired a creamy texture and an even stronger taste.
Examples: Epoisses, Livarot, Maroilles, Munster

Blue-veined cheeses (interspersed with green veins):
These are made from cow’s milk, except for Roquefort for which sheep’s milk is used. Their name derives from the marbled effect created by coloured veins.
Examples: Bleu de Bresse, des Causses, Fourme d’Ambert

Hard cheeses that haven’t been matured:
These are soft cheeses with a hard rind and a smooth taste.
Examples: Cantal, Saint Nectaire, Saint Paulin, Tomme, Morbier

Goat’s cheeses:
These can be fresh, semi-hard or hard. They may also be covered in ash, or sprinkled with aromatic herbs. You might find them wrapped in vine leaves. They will probably appear in the shape of a log, cylinder or pyramid.
Examples: Chabichous, Crottins, Picondon, Sainte Maure, Valancay

Processed cheeses: smooth taste with a creamy texture; have been pressed, ripened or unripened (creamy type gruyere and other cheeses in individual portions).

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