French Cheese for the Perfect Board

Texture and Taste.

What a joy! Warmer weather and the opportunity for some al fresco dining. One might go on a picnic or stay at home and eat in the garden. Either way a cheeseboard is the perfect choice and a versatile crowd pleaser.

I have been enjoying several French cheeses from CNIEL. Its main mission is to organize the dairy industry in a coherent manner in order to promote its economic development. Each cheese is different, but all are perfect for a cheeseboard, either for the end of a dinner or, with a few additions, as a whole meal.

French Cheeses cheeseboardThe Cheeseboard

Your cheeseboard can actually be a real board, or a variety of plates. Arrange the elements quite close together to give visual impact. Consider all those items which work well with cheese and that are your personal preferences. Do it your way.

Cheese goes well with bread. Great if you can make your own but there is no shame in buying a good artisan loaf. This is no time for that soft and fluffy pre-sliced white in the plastic bag. Your remarkable cheeses deserve quality support. Find some flavourful crackers, too.

Colour is important so red grapes, cherry tomatoes and vibrant condiments are the way to go. Add some salad items such as red-leaf lettuce. Nuts work well so find your favourites. Position all of these around your cheeses.


Comté is from the Jura mountains in France. It is the most popular cheese in France and has the highest production of all French appellation d’origine contrôlée cheeses in the country. It offers a smooth and velvety texture with a mellow flavour. An example crafted by Affineur Marcel Petite shows all the classic expressions of this class of cheese. This versatile cheese pairs well with wine and all the usual cheeseboard accoutrements, but it is also great for cooking.

Brie de Meaux is a familiar soft artisan cheese and should be included in every cheeseboard. It has a soft, bloomy white rind, pale yellow, smooth and delightfully gooey centre. It is firmer when young but develops that luscious texture with time. It has a distinctive rich aroma when ripe and has a sweet creamy flavour. It’s chosen for both its taste and texture when selecting cheeses for a balanced board. It is an essential cheese player.

Tomme de Savoie is a firm cow’s milk cheese with a distinctive grey rind. It is usually made from the skimmed milk left over after the cream is taken to make butter or other regional cheese. This classic cheese offers a mild, nutty flavour making it a good all-rounder, pairing well with your favourite cheeseboard condiments and garnishes.

Wine suggestions

It’s all a matter of taste. Our taste buds are all different so there is no one right answer. Here are some examples of pairings that might tickle your particular taste buds.

Brie is a rich creamy cheese so a well-chilled Riesling would be a good choice. A fruity dry rosé would look and taste wonderful with this cheese. A medium dry cider would likely please those who don’t want wine.

Comté pairs well with Pinot Noir. If you only have one wine on offer, then this would be my suggestion.  It’s a lighter red, so serve this chilled.

Tomme de Savoie could be paired with Côtes du Rhône or even a light beer.