Direct from France, as with creamy, milky, delectable French cheese, world-famous cheese monger François Robin will share the art of creating a “shiok” cheese board paired with favourite local ingredients. During this one-of-a-kind masterclass, the traditional French cheese board will get a local twist and new ways of enjoying French cheese will be uncovered. Tune in to the Instagram Live session on 21 September 2020, Monday, 8pm, at @homeofcheese_sg. This event is organised by CNIEL and supported by the European Union.

Singapore’s Cheesiest Livestream

Armed with years of expertise, six carefully-selected types of cheeses and ingredients that evoke familiar Singaporean flavours, François will introduce ways of savouring French cheese that will excite the local palate.

“The French pairs cheeses with French ingredients that may be hard to find in Singapore so it’s a simple and brilliant idea to use ingredients that locals can easily find at home. Incorporating familiar flavours into the traditional cheese board will allow cheese beginners, and cheese lovers, to appreciate new tastes and textures,” François enthuses.

François is the 2011 winner of Meilleur Ouvriers de France in the class of cheese mongers. As one of the world’s premier competitions, the award recognises the best craftsmen in France from a diversity of fields. He will enrich the cheese pairing session with tidbits of cheese history, the refined cheesemaking process and distinctive features of different types of French cheese.

The six types of cheeses that François will work with are: Bleu d’Auvergne (Blue Cheese), Camembert, Emmental, Époisses, Mimolette and Triple Crème.

Based on the unique qualities each cheese, he will pair them with familiar local ingredients: the sweet and coconuty kaya; coriander, an ingredient as polarising as blue cheese itself; and a handful of spring onions, dried tropical fruits and mixed nuts to complement the flavours of cheese. 

“The best way to enjoy French cheese is not to be formal,” he says. With his unique pairings, he hopes to inspire creative new ways of enjoying this versatile product. Whether cooked or paired, enjoyed sweet or savoury, or paired with wines or other beverages, “eat French cheese the way you want!” François declares.

The Origins of French Cheese

As a global product that remains a local produce, French cheese represents its people, its heritage and a billion-dollar industry that drives a significant part of the French economy. The country boasts 1,200 varieties of cheese which are divided into different types and linked to the distinctive features of their regions of origin, including the climate, soil and undersoil.

Meadows and fields are the basis for the French dairy industry. Together with the right temperate climate and plentiful water reserves, France remains by nature a major dairy country with its remarkably diverse land. Throughout history, every single region has developed its own know-how for dairy farming and processing. This gives birth to cheese each with its own distinctive smell, flavour and texture resulting from a particular region or maturation period.

Packaged in wheels, slabs, squares or slices, every morsel is a proud embodiment of a mindful and human agriculture and symbolises the French art de vivre. This unique tradition is most easily brought into Singaporeans’ homes through the classic French-style cheese board.

Anytime, Anywhere and Anyhow

As the most exported French dairy product, French cheese has become a household name all over the world. Some of France’s most famous cheeses like Brie, Mimolette, Bleu d’Auvergne, Comté and Tomme de Savoie are all made from cow’s milk – and known for their “Made in France” guarantee of quality.

Emilie Martin, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, CNIEL says, “Cheese is getting more and more popular. The cheese trend in Asia started in Japan about 30 years ago and has made its way all around Asia, especially in open markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong or Taiwan. French cheeses, with their diversity of textures, aromas and tastes, have naturally found their place in Asian cuisine and snacking habits.”

An appealing party appetiser, full cheese course, sophisticated snack or creative complement to any dish, French cheese displays its versatility through the myriad ways that it can be enjoyed.

“Singapore is an exciting source of inspiration to develop creative pairing recipes for French cheeses. We hope that participants will get a taste of the great potential of cheeses through François and access new cheese pairing ideas that will make them go “shiok” ah!” she adds.

This collaboration is part of the promotional programme for CNIEL, which is the umbrella organisation for the French dairy industry and is responsible for the promotion of French dairy products worldwide. With the support of the European Union, the campaign showcases the authenticity, quality and versatility of French cheese that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere and anyhow.

Tune in to the Instagram Live session on 21 September 2020, Monday, 8pm at @homeofcheese_sg.

Follow François on his cheesy adventures on Instagram at @francoisrobincheesemonger.