Grilled Cheese Review #4: Chevre Frais and Fourme d’Ambert
NOTE: This post originally appeared on danielwaldman.com.
It’s been quite a while since I last posted a grilled cheese review. It isn’t that I haven’t been eating them (I have). It’s that I’ve just been a little busy between trying to recreate Thanksgiving in France, prepare for the holidays, family visits, dinner parties, work and just general life. But a few French people I know have been asking me about the reviews, and so I thought it one was past due.
Plus, I made a sandwich the other day that I could not resist reviewing. It was sooooo gooooood. To the point of me almost not wanting to write any other reviews because I may have found the holy grail of grilled cheese sandwiches, if such a thing exists. Here’s my review:
|Cheese:||Chevre Frais (fresh goat cheese) & Fourme d’Ambert|
|Bread:||Boule de campagne|
First, let me say that there is nothing more amazing than fresh goat cheese. While what you can find in your standard packaging at your grocery store is usually decent, buying it when it’s fresh brings a whole new level of goodness. It’s not just soft, it’s also quite moist–in a good way. It’s has very subtle flavor, especially when compared to stronger-flavored aged goat cheeses (which are also quite transcendent in their own way).
Fourme d’Ambert is a fascinating cheese. It’s a type of blue cheese, but unlike what you usually find in the States. In the States, most blue cheeses are crumbly. Fourme d’Ambert is the opposite. It’s semi-hard and extremely creamy. Interestingly, it is one of the oldest cheeses in France. It’s produced both commercially and artisanally. The hunk I got was bought off our cheese guy at our weekly outdoor market, and was made with unpasteurized milk (which, in my opinion, is makes the most flavorful cheeses; you can’t even get these in the States, which is highly unfortunate).
The combination of these two cheeses was, if I can be so bold, revelatory in taste. The goat cheese was slightly tangy and perfectly mushy while the Fourme d’Ambert offered a big mouthful of tangy flavor that complemented the goat cheese. It also greatly contributed to the gooiness, which the goat cheese couldn’t provide, and it had a nice, big mouthfeel. The boule de campagne has become my go-to bread these days. It’s both light and airy but it also crisps up very nicely. So far, I’ve been hard pressed to try to find a bread that makes a better sandwich, though I’d like to find one that’s sliced slightly thicker.
Sandwich score: 4.5/5
It occurred to me that the real genius of this sandwich was perhaps its simplicity. As is sometimes the case, using fewer ingredients in a dish (even one as mundane as a grilled cheese sandwich) helps each of those ingredients stand out. In this case, the four ingredients worked so well together that it’d nearly be a travesty of justice to add any other component. That’s not to say it’s not worth experimenting with 😉