Best Cheese Tasting in Paris: Who to Book & What Cheeses You May Try
You simply cannot come to Paris without trying the mouthwatering French cheeses! When you walk into a local fromagerie, the variety of cheese options is overwhelming. How do you pick among the 500+ varieties? What are you going to like? What better way to get oriented than by joining a cheese tasting in Paris? And since you are in France, of course, this must be paired with excellent French wine. Find out who we think runs the best cheese & wine tasting tour in Paris and what we tried.
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Who to Book
My husband and I are huge foodies and have dined at a range of restaurants from some incredible street-side cafes to the best 3-star Michelin restaurants like the Inn at Little Washington.
Quality and experience are super important to us.
When I say our cheese tasting tour with Andres from Airbnb Experiences was one of our favorite tours of all time, I truly mean it.
Andres has lived all over the world and has worked at some of the top restaurants in France after attending one of France’s most prestigious culinary schools. He even has his Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 and offers tours to France’s Champagne region.
With that decorated background, you know you are in good hands!
Location of Cheese Tasting Tour
Jouannault cheese shop in Paris, France
We took a 20-minute metro ride from our hotel, L’Hôtel Fougère in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, to get to the cheese tasting class.
Talk about ambiance.
The location of this cheese tasting in Paris is accessed by a steep staircase underneath the Jouannault cheese shop in a 17th-century cellar!
Before we dove into our tasting, Andres walked us through the cheese-making process and showed us where the cheeses were stored and aged in a special chamber.
Our small group was then led into a room with a long wooden table, and we all gathered around family style. I have found most wine and food tours attract some fun, well-traveled people.
Our group was no exception, and we really enjoyed getting to know one another over some lovely French cheese and wine.
Here is a rundown of all the amazing French cheeses we tried:
01- Goat Cheese: Rouelle de Tarn
Rouelle de Tarn
This mild, ash-covered, 1-week aged cheese has a distinctive shape and looks like a large donut.
A mold is used to shape the cheese curds, creating the hole in the center.
It’s got a milky texture as you can see from the photo and a faint taste of hazelnut.
02- Sheep Cheese: Ossau-Iraty AOP
This ancient sharp, nutty cheese is made from a very specific sheep called the Manic ewe from a very specific region in the Pyrénées.
Some say it is one of the first cheeses ever made.
The family owned-company called Agour has won a few awards for this cheese in the largest cheese competition in the world, appropriately named the World Cheese Awards.
Love this cheese!
03- Goat/Sheep Cheese: Tomme de Chèvre & Brebis
Tomme de Chèvre & Brebis
A little bit of sheep and a little bit of goat. I don’t think I have ever had a blend of cheeses from two different animals. It’s unique with a subtle taste.
04- Cow Cheese: Époisses AOP
I have certainly had a love affair with this delicious, stinky (some say smelly socks or a touch of barnyard?) cheese ever since I first put it in my mouth at the Inn at Little Washington restaurant.
The flavor is rich and lingers in your mouth like a glass of beautifully aged wine.
This Burgundian cheese has a distinctive orange-red terracotta rind that has been washed in traditional French brandy, Marc de Bourgogne. It has such a soft runny texture you can eat it with a spoon.
Another Burgundian cheese we tried later on in our trip while biking through the vineyards of France was an incredible cow’s milk cheese called Delice de Pommard Moutarde.
It’s encrusted with Dijon mustard seeds, giving it a little spice. Yum.
05- Cow Cheese: Brie de Meaux AOP
Brie de Meaux AOP
Known as the “King of Brie,” Brie de Meaux is yet another beautiful French cheese characterized by a smooth, buttery flavor with hints of mushroom. The innards almost appear custard-like.
This is an easy cheese to love.
06- Cow Cheese: Reblochon de Savoie AOP
Reblochon de Savoie AOP
This deliciously soft, custardy mountain cheese can taste quite nutty as it ages. It is popular in hearty alpine dishes like tartiflette, a casserole of potatoes, bacon, and onions.
We enjoyed this cheese again in Chamonix, France after long days of hiking.
The origin of the name of the cheese is pretty interesting. It comes from the word reblocher, which translates to “pinch a cow’s udder again.”
Dairy farmers used to have to pay the landlords a tax based on the milk volume their cows produced. They avoided paying the full tax by only partially milking their cows.
When the landlords left, they milked their cows a second time. This richer milk was used to make the famous Reblochon cheese.
07- Cow Cheese: Comté AOP
I am now obsessed with Comté thanks to our cheese tasting tour. Comté is made in the Jura mountainside of eastern France from two specific breeds of cows and is matured in special dark caves.
A green label on the cheese wheel means it’s the best quality.
It is famous for its complex, iconic flavor profile.
Aged Comté is nutty, buttery, sweet, and smoky.
This truly special cheese can be aged all the way up to five years! The one we tasted had been aged 30 months and was heaven in the mouth.
It is certainly one of the finest, celebrated cheeses in the world.
In addition to our cheese tasting class, we enjoyed Comté infused in delicious homemade bread during our Burgundy wine tour and also in fondue while hiking the French Alps in Chamonix.
Do NOT miss trying this cheese!
08- Cow Cheese: Bleu d’Auvergne
Alright, this is one cheese I have not yet developed an appreciation for.
Maybe it’s an acquired taste.
Bleu d’Auvergne is milder in taste compared to other blue cheeses. You’ll love it if you love blue cheese. It was fun to try but not for me.
Wine pairings at the cheese tasting class in Paris
These incredible eight kinds of cheese were paired with four unique red and white French wines.
- Domaine Font de Courtedune, Vieilles Vignes, Côtes du Rhône Villages 2019
- Domaine de Montcy Ligère Cheverny
- Domaine de Terra Vecchia a Paesana Ile de Beauté
- Chateau de Caraguilhes Cinsault Parcelle Le Jardin
My husband and I love cheese, and we love wine.
Clearly, France was a perfect marriage.
The cheese tasting in Paris was certainly one of the highlights of our vacation. The tour was informative without being stuffy or pretentious. It was definitely a fun way to learn about the varieties of French cheeses and flavor profiles.
I feel I’m much more confident now when I walk into the local fromagerie looking for my next cheese to try thanks to Andres!
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