Behind the French Menu gives a tasty background to French cuisine, French dishes, how they are made and how they should be served.
Where there is a story behind a dish's creation and
that story may aid the diner's enjoyment then that will also be included. Bon appétit!
Bleu d'Auvergne AOP - A creamy, crumbly, and tasty, 50% fat, blue, cow’s milk cheese made from non-pasteurized milk from the department of Cantal in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. (Pasteurized milk is used for exports to the USA). The cheese is aged for a minimum of four weeks before sale. On the menu Bleu d'Auvergne will be part of a French apéro, a pre-dinner drink and snack, or in a sauce with steak or fish, on a cheese plater or the cheese trolley, or part of a dessert with fruit. There is excellent dining in the region, with many Auvergnat dishes on French Menus, where the Bleu d'Auvergne has an important part to play.
A whole cheese weighs between 2-3 kilos, (4.5 -6.5 lbs).
Bleu d'Auvergne is a strongly flavored blue cheese that was created by a farmer called Antoine Roussel almost 150 years ago.Originally Roussel planned for the cheese to be a cow’s milk version of the Roquefort sheep’s milk cheese and Roquefort is a very potent blue cheese. While Bleu d'Auvergne is a strong cheese, it is not up there with Roquefort among the powerhouse blue cheeses.
Pavé de Bœuf "Aubrac," Sauce au Bleu d'Auvergne et Aligot– A rump steak from the Label Rouge, red label, Aubrac beef served with a Bleu d’Auvergne sauce and accompanied by Aligot.
The Aubrac cattle are raised on the Aubrac plateau. There the cattle freely graze, in summer, from the south of the Massif Central through parts of the department of Cantal in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the department of Lozère in the region of Occitanie.
Aligot is a traditional, tasty, mashed potato and cheese dish that remains very popular.
N.B. On 1-1-2016 France changed the borders of its mainland regions creating super-regions including Occitanie and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Thereby, reducing the number of mainland France regions from 22 to 13.
Truite de Vourzac au Bleu d'Auvergne - Trout, from the department of Haute-Loire in the south of the Auvergne - Rhône-Alpes prepared with the Bleu d’Auvergne cheese. On a menu listing like this, you may usually choose if you prefer your fish grilled, fried or steamed.
In the department of Cantal in the region ofAuvergne-Rhône-Alpes is the small, walkable, town of Riom-ès-Montagnes. The town is the center for farmers whose cows provide the milk for the Bleu d’Auvergne cheese; nearly 25 liters of milk are needed for every kilo of cheese.
Riom-ès-Montagnes and its farmers are also very proud of the gentian plants they grow. The nationally popular, alcoholic drink called Suze is made with gentian roots though the primary use of gentian is for homeopathic medicines. Riom-ès-Montagnes has a gentian festival, their Fête de la Gentiane on the first weekend in July and then six weeks later they have a festival for their famous blue cheese their Fête du Bleu d'Auvergne.
For more about Riom-ès-Montagnes use the Bing or Google translation apps and click on these two French language websites with links to the town:
Riom-ès-Montagnes is inside the Regional Natural Volcano Park of the Auvergne, Le Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d'Auvergne. The park is the largest regional park in France, and apart from more than 80 enthralling, but extinct, volcanoes in the summer there is hiking, fishing, and water sports; all that apart from the Bleu d’Auvergne cheese.
Rigotte AOP or Rigotte de Condrieu AOP, a soft, goat’s milk cheese.
Saint-Nectaire AOP a creamy and nutty, semi-firm, cow’s milk cheese.
Tome des Bauges AOP - a semi-hard, cow’s milk cheese.
Other cheeses from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes:
Bleu de Gex AOP is also called the Blue du Haut Jura and the Blue de Septmoncel. – A mild, cow’s milk, blue cheese, claimed by the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (Burgundy and Franche-Comté) where about 50% of the cheese is made in the department of Jura. The other 50% comes from the department of Ain in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
Gruyere Francaise IGP - French Gruyere IGP, a hard, yellow cheese. Not unsurprisingly French Gruyere tastes somewhat similar to the Swiss Gruyere. While, the French cheese has small holes, and the Swiss has none. The French lost the rights to call their cheese Gruyere AOP in the European Union as the town of Gruyere is a Swiss city. Nevertheless, French Gruyere will be on many menus in France and then it is usually just called Gruyere without any declared nationality.
Tomme de Savoie IGP - A semi-soft cow’s milk cheese. A very popular and tasty cheese that remains without an AOP. I learned to love this cheese while spending a week travelling around Lake Annecy. Lake Annecy is in the department of Haute-Savoie in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes