Dairy products are called laitages in French. Dairy products in France are often used in moderation, as a complement to other ingredients, and high-quality dairy products are a source of pride for many French people. Here are some popular French dairy products found in many French households.
In France, cow’s milk is the most commonly consumed type of milk. It is used to produce a wide variety of dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt, butter, and crème fraîche. Many French people prefer to drink whole milk, which has a higher fat content and a richer flavor than skim or low-fat milk.
Drinking plain milk is not as common in France as it is in some other countries, such as the United States. While milk is an important part of the French diet, it is more often consumed as an ingredient in other dishes or as a component of a larger meal, rather than as a standalone beverage.
For example, milk is commonly used in coffee drinks such as café au lait or cappuccino, and it is also used in cooking and baking to make dishes such as béchamel sauce, quiches, and custards. Milk is also often paired with cookies or other sweets as a snack or dessert.
That being said, many French people do enjoy drinking plain milk, especially children, and it is readily available in grocery stores and markets throughout the country.
The French take their butter very seriously and are known for producing some of the world’s finest butter. Butter is a staple in French cooking, and it is used in many recipes, from croissants to sauces. There are a few different types of butter that are commonly kept in French households:
- Beurre doux (unsalted butter): This is the most common type of butter in France and is used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. It has a rich, creamy flavor and a smooth, spreadable texture.
- Beurre demi-sel (lightly salted butter): This butter is similar to unsalted butter, but it has a small amount of added salt. It is often used in baking and is also delicious spread on bread or used in cooking.
- Beurre cru (raw butter): Raw butter is made from unpasteurized cream and has a slightly tangy, complex flavor. It is typically more expensive than other types of butter and is often used in high-end restaurants or for special occasions.
- Beurre de baratte (churned butter): This type of butter is made using an old-fashioned method of churning cream until it separates into butter and buttermilk. It has a rich flavor and is often used in traditional French dishes.
Many French people prefer to use high-quality, artisanal butter in their cooking and baking, and it is a must-have in most French households.
France is renowned for its wide variety of cheeses, which are typically made from cow, goat, or sheep milk. French cheese can be enjoyed on its own, served as an appetizer, or used as an ingredient in cooking. Many regions of France have their own unique types of cheese, too. Here are the types of cheese consumed in France.
France is known for its wide variety of delicious hard cheeses, many of which have been produced for centuries. Here are a few examples:
- Comté: Comté is a hard, aged cheese that is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. It has a nutty flavor and a firm, slightly crumbly texture. Comté is produced in the Jura department of eastern France and is a popular cheese for snacking, cooking, and pairing with wine. It is named after the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region it comes from.
- Beaufort: Beaufort is a hard, cow’s milk cheese that is produced in the Savoie region of the French Alps. It has a fruity, slightly nutty flavor and a firm, creamy texture. Beaufort is often used in traditional French dishes, such as raclette and tartiflette.
- Roquefort: Roquefort is a blue cheese that is made from sheep’s milk and aged in natural caves in the Aveyron region of southern France. It has a distinct, tangy flavor and a creamy, crumbly texture. Roquefort is often used in salads, sauces, and other dishes that benefit from its bold flavor.
- Cantal: Cantal is a hard, aged cheese that is made from cow’s milk in the Auvergne region of central France. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and a firm, smooth texture. Cantal is often grated over dishes or eaten on its own.
Here are a few examples of soft cheeses that are known in France:
- Brie: Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese that is named after the historic region of Brie, not far from Paris, France. It has a creamy texture and a mild, slightly nutty flavor. Brie is often served as a dessert cheese or as an appetizer, and it pairs well with fruit and crackers. It can also be baked.
- Camembert: Camembert is a soft, creamy cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It has a rich, buttery flavor and a bloomy rind that is often eaten along with the cheese. Camembert is often served with baguette slices, fresh bread, or crackers and is a popular cheese for snacking.
- Chevre (Goat Cheese): Goat cheese is a soft, tangy cheese that is made from goat’s milk. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and it can be either fresh or aged. Goat cheese is often used in salads, on pizzas, or in quiches.
- Roquefort: While Roquefort is often considered a hard cheese, it is also available in a soft, spreadable form. This blue cheese is made from sheep’s milk and has a bold pungent flavor that is delicious when spread on bread or crackers.
There are also two spreadable cheeses most French households keep at home as part of their dairy products.
Fromage Frais is a creamy cheese that is soft and served fresh. It’s made out of whole or skim milk and lots of cream. It is a dairy product of French and Belgian origin. Fromage frais is similar to yogurt but is sweeter and slightly thicker. It’s more comparable to cream cheese. It is served as a spread for an appetizer or occasionally as a dessert.
Fromage Blanc is fresh cow’s milk cheese with a soft and spreadable texture. It has a milky flavor. Its name means “white cheese” in English. Fromage Blanc is served as a dessert; you can use a dollop on top of a pie or tart for example.
The difference between fromage frais and fromage blanc is that fromage frais must contain live cultures when sold while with fromage blanc, the fermentation has been stopped.
These are just a few examples of the many delicious kinds of cheese that are consumed in France!
Yogurt is a popular snack and dessert in France, and it is often enjoyed with fruit, honey, or granola. French yogurt is typically thicker and creamier than American-style yogurt, and it is often made with whole milk. It comes in many different flavors like banana and raspberry too.
La Fermière is a popular family-owned French yogurt brand founded in 1952.
Crème fraîche, or Fresh cream, is a staple in most French kitchens. This thick, tangy dairy cream is used in a variety of French dishes, such as soups and sauces. It is similar to sour cream, but with a higher fat content. Crème fraîche is often used as a garnish for soups and stews, as a topping for baked potatoes or fruit, or as an ingredient in spreads and dips.
Crème de Chantilly, also known as whipped cream or Chantilly cream in English, is a sweetened whipped cream that is a staple in French cuisine. It is made by whipping heavy cream and adding sugar and sometimes vanilla extract for flavor. The resulting cream is light, fluffy, and has a slightly sweet taste.
Crème de Chantilly is often used as a topping for desserts such as fruit tarts, crepes, and cakes, and it is also used as a filling for pastries such as éclairs and cream puffs. In some cases, it may also be flavored with other ingredients such as chocolate or liqueurs.
The name “Chantilly” comes from the Château de Chantilly, a castle located north of Paris, which was known for its lavish feasts and desserts. The use of whipped cream became popular at the Château de Chantilly during the 17th century, and it has since become a beloved component of French cuisine.
In France, there are several types of eggs that are commonly consumed, each with its own unique characteristics. Chicken eggs, oeufs de poule, are the most commonly consumed eggs in France and are what most people think of when they hear the word “egg.” They have a white or light brown shell and are used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory.
Eggs are a staple ingredient in French cuisine and several popular French dishes feature eggs as a key ingredient.
The French omelette is a classic dish made with eggs that are whisked together with a fork, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then cooked in a pan until just set. The omelette can be filled with a variety of ingredients, such as cheese, herbs, mushrooms, or ham.
Quiche is a savory tart made with a crust and a filling of eggs, cream, cheese, and other ingredients such as bacon, spinach, or mushrooms. It is a popular dish in French cuisine and can be served hot or cold.
Crème brûlée is a classic French dessert that is made with a custard base of egg yolks, cream, and sugar. The custard is baked in individual ramekins and then topped with a layer of caramelized sugar.
Croque Madame is a variation of the classic Croque Monsieur sandwich that features a fried egg on top. The sandwich is made with ham, cheese, and béchamel sauce and is typically served hot and crispy.
Eggs en cocotte are baked eggs that are cooked in a small ramekin with cream and other ingredients such as ham or cheese. The eggs are baked until set and are often served with crusty bread for dipping.
Now you know all the most popular dairy products in France!