The ProducersFrench Farmers
France is known for its diversity of cheese, with several hundred types of farmhouse and small-scale artisanal cheeses, not to mention the industrial varieties regularly produced in the country.
In the plains, where cheeses are consumed locally, products with a short shelf life were obviously the norm: soft cheeses, which developed ’pale rinds’ in damp regions and ’bloomy rinds’ in the more continental plains. In the mountains, where cheeses are produced far from their place of consumption, pressing and cooking of the curd made it possible to produce large wheels of hard cheese, which could be stored for long periods of time.
And so over time, from one century to the next, our humble farmers have tested and tried, developing a mosaic of varieties envied the world over today. But it’s our most recent ancestors who deserve our most praise for preserving the unique character of each cheese, as techniques and business practices emerging in the mid-twentieth century all pushed for the standardization of processes.