There is something to be said about French Cheese that is quite unique for the region. Although cheese has been championed in many other countries, you can always find certain flavors that are undoubtedly French strictly due to how it’s made. Here are two delicious provincial cheese favorites that you’ll find all over the South of France.
Aligot (cheesy mashed potatoes)
- Medium-sized pot
- Potato masher
- Wooden spoon
- 4 medium-sized Potatoes (Yukon Gold is best) about 2Lbs. peeled and quartered
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick unsalted and room temperature)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper (freshly ground)
- 1 pound Tomme d’Auvergne (rind removed cut into -inch cubes)
- Alternative: Lb. Gruyére cheese with Lb Mozzarella added instead.
Using a medium-sized pot, add 2-inches of water of cold water. Add enough salt to give your water the right amount of saltiness for the potatoes. Bring this to a boil and reduce the heat to a steady simmer. This is when you add your potatoes that will cook for 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when you can stab them with a knife and they slip off easily. The next step is to drain your potatoes into a colander.
Place your potatoes back into your pot and use a potato masher (or ricer) until it looks similar to a chunky mash. Set the stovetop to medium-low heat and add your garlic and butter. Also, add your heavy cream and half of your cubed cheese. Stir this mixture with a wooden spoon until it’s melted and blended. After this, add the last half of your cheese and continue until you have a mixture that moved like melted Mozzarella.
Now add salt and pepper as you like and finish the rest of your prepared meat. This cheese and potato side dish is the last part of making your meal, so be sure to prepare your meat beforehand. It should be served while it’s nice and warm so the cheese is still very stretchy.
Have your plates ready and use a large serving spoon to scoop the cheese potatoes onto each plate. Garnish with a little bit of finely diced chives or a few leaves of fresh parsley. A great wine to go with this is often a dry white chardonnay or a dry red Malbec. Any Argentinian Malbec wine is similar to Merlot but is drier with a fruiter body of flavor. Depending on your choice of meat, you can choose which is more appealing.
Cauliflower and Roquefort soup
- Wooden spoon
- Small bowl
- 1 whole cauliflowe (chopped)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 1 large potato (chopped)
- 1 liter of water (or vegetable stock)
- 250-500 grams Roquefort cheese (depending on how strong a flavor you want)
- 1 tablespoon oil (vegetable or canola oil)
- Salt (any preference)
- Pepper (freshly ground)
In a large pot, begin by adding your chopped onion with a dash of oil. When your onions begin to get transparent or glassy, now add your potato and cauliflower. This is when you add your water or vegetable stock. You can reuse veggie stock if you’ve been saving this for soup and will add internal layers of additional flavor. The next step is to add your salt and pepper as you like. Bring to a boil and then immediately down to a simmer for 10-15 min.
When you reach the point that your potatoes and cauliflower are softened, it’s time to mulch them with the heat off. You can use a hand mixer to create a smooth texture, yet some people do enjoy smaller pieces that can be enjoyed likewise. Don’t overdo the mixing for this reason. The traditional recipe calls for smaller chunks and is not entirely pureed. It’s up to your preference if you want a completely smooth soup.
You can now begin to reheat the soup on low and let it simmer a bit until it reduces to a creamy thick soup. After this, now add at least the amount of your Roquefort cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon until it totally melts. It will naturally get thicker because of the cheese. Hand-crush the remaining cheese into crumbs into a small bowl to use later while serving.
Into a large soup bowl use a soup ladle to fill each bowl at your table. The crumbled cheese is then spooned onto the top of each bowl as a garnish. Since the soup is very thick, it will sit on the top. Add plenty of fresh French bread sliced into small sections to go with this soup. This is the best soup starter to begin a meal with if you’re planning a three-course meal. As most fans of this soup will agree, it’s a stand-alone soup for any meal you’ll want to enjoy.
The best wine that will compliment this dish is a full-bodied white wine or a nice Viognier wine.
Port wine is alright but alternatively, you can use brandy or sherry. If you want to have port but don’t like the flavor so much, you can try adding minced prunes to a bottle of Shiraz red wine and then strain off the prunes after 10 minutes. This will give your red wine a sweet and smoky flavor that is more tangible than Port by itself. You can also smoke the cheese if you really feel like taking things to the next level. if you Enjoy!