New York — July 10th, 2018 Bastille Day on July 14th commemorates the storming of the Bastille fortress in Paris and the freeing of political prisoners, a symbolic event in the French Revolution. It’s celebrated with parades in France and with parties all over the world. What’s the perfect party food to celebrate? Mac & cheese – with a French spin!
While the history of macaroni and cheese has weaved through many countries, its history in America relates directly back to France. American president Thomas Jefferson and his chef, James Hemings, discovered macaroni in Paris and brought the recipe back to Monticello. In 1793, he commissioned the American ambassador to Paris, William Short, to purchase a machine for making macaroni. Recipes for macaroni and cheese combine the French “mother sauce,” béchamel, with any number of cheeses, making it a very versatile dish. Which cheeses will you choose to celebrate Bastille Day? French ones, of course. There is no time like the present since, according to Charles Duque, Director of The French Dairy Board for the Americas, “Americans are developing their taste for fromage.”
Here are some cheesy suggestions:
Blue Cheeses — Fourme d’Ambert, Bleu d’Auvergne or Gorgonzola Dolce
All are bold in aroma and flavor. A little goes a long way! For an upscale mac & cheese, Duque suggests combining whichever cheese with bacon and spinach. He adds, “It’s cow’s milk blue, so less sharp than Roquefort, it’s milder and creamier.”
Washed Rind Cheeses — Pont l’Evêque & Époisses
These strong and stinky cheeses combine well with the richness of heavy cream in mac & cheese.
Hard Cheeses — Mimolette or Red Leicester
Mimolette is sharp and fruity with hints of butterscotch. According to Duque, "Mac & Mimolette works because the cheese is nice and nutty.” Click here to watch Cheeses of Europe’s thirty second Mac & Mimolette recipe video.
Semi-firm — Comté
A classic for fondue that is rich enough in its own right, this cheese melts and combines with other cheeses beautifully.
Soft-ripened cheeses — Triple Crème, Brie, or Camembert
Brie has a soft, rich, creamy texture and white butter cream flavor whereas Camembert has a semi-firm texture with a rich, buttery flavor. For a “magnifique mac and cheese,” Duque suggests using triple crème, Brillat Savarin, a truffled Brie type with lobster to take it over the top.
Having a Mac & Cheese Party? Duque suggests serving small portions – think individual ramekins. If you are going to serve a few different recipes, Duque encourages hosts to time the mac & cheese variations so that they are all served at the same temperature. “Mac & cheese is wonderful but when it’s served at the right temperature the ingredients pop,” he added.
About the Cheeses of Europe
The Cheeses of Europe Marketing Campaign, orchestrated by CNIEL (The French Dairy Inter-Branch Organization) and funded in part by the European Union, was designed to create awareness for the variety of European cheeses available in the US market and to suggest ways that American consumers can incorporate those cheeses into their diets, recipes and lifestyles. The campaign’s goal is to increase the appeal of European cheeses and strengthen their competitive position in the growing specialty cheese category.
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