From Camembert to Chèvre: An Exploration of French Cheese with Jennifer Greco

From Camembert to Chèvre: An Exploration of French Cheese with Jennifer Greco


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"Cheese is one of the jewels in the French gastronomic crown." - Dominique Bouchait, Meilleur Ouvrier de France

Love cheese but feel overwhelmed and intimidated at the cheese counter? Wish you had a better understanding of cheese? Want to learn the basic principles of pairing cheese with wine? This seminar hopes to answer those questions, engaging participants in a deeper understanding of the rich, tasty (and often foreign) world of French cheese.

The history of cheese goes back 10,000 years and France’s first cheeses can be traced back over two millennia. There are currently over 1000 cheeses being produced in this country: this seminar will cover a broad range of cheese-related topics. Participants will come away with a solid grasp of the various families of cheese and how to recognize them, an understanding of the difference between unpasteurized vs. pasteurized, and the importance of the role of the cheesemaker and affineur (cheese ripener). This Conversation will teach terminology that will help for cheese purchasing, including methods for storing, cutting, and plating cheeses. We will discuss pairing cheese with drinks, fruit, honey, and bread, and, Jennifer will answer that critical question - can you eat the rind?

Some of the cheeses we might talk about include Brie or Camembert, triple cream cheeses such as Brillat Savarin, young goat’s cheeses like Crottin de Chavignol, or Valançay, Alpine-style cheeses such as Comté, and blue cheeses like Fourme d’Ambert.

Led by an expert on French cheese, Jennifer Greco, this interactive seminar will demystify the subject of cheese and make it more approachable. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with increased knowledge about cheese in general, and confidence to taste, select, serve, and compose successful cheese pairings.

We encourage you to taste your way through the seminar! If you're so inclined, please feel welcome to come with one or all of the following (or a cheese of your liking):

  • a fresh chèvre, such as a Selles-sur-Cher, Valençay, or Crottin
  • a slice of Brie de Meaux or Coulommiers 
  • a hunk of Comté (the older the better)
  • a wedge of Ossau-Iraty
  • a piece of Fourme d'Ambert, Bleu d'Auvergne, Bleu des Causses, or Roquefort

As a life-long Francophile, Jennifer realized her dreams of moving to France in 2003 where she quickly discovered that her true passion was learning about French cheese and wine. She holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of Washington and spent several years as a chef and a pastry chef in the US. After settling into a small winemaking village in the south of France, she started writing a food blog, Chez Loulou - A Taste of Life in France, which led to her ongoing project to taste and document every cheese produced in France. She is now based in Paris where she continues to seek out, write about, and share her knowledge of French cheese on both her blog and with passionate cheese lovers from around the world. This project has led her to be interviewed by several French themed publications such as France and Living France magazines, and be invited to share cheese knowledge on podcasts such as The Earful Tower. She was also interviewed about the best cheese shops in Paris by CN Traveler and was featured on the NPR affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats!, with Poppy Tooker. In 2015 Jennifer was invited to sit on the jury at the Best Baguette in Paris competition along with 14 other French chefs, pâtissiers and fromagers. She is currently studying for a French Wine Scholar certification.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 74 reviews
91%
(67)
7%
(5)
3%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A.R. (Renton, US)

Excellent and engaging session with extremely knowledgeable and helpful expert! Perfect session to get us excited for upcoming trip to France.

H
H.v.t.i.p.t. (Silver Spring, US)
Merry Cheesemas!

The “guide,” Jennifer, was wonderful. She delivered a wonderful mix of history, industry “geeky” notes on production methods, and what lends the distinctive character each of the selected cheeses possesses. She also had helpful cultural information (don’t slice the nose off of the Brie!) and info on wine pairings and designing a cheese board. I assume that most of the participants had acquired the cheeses mentioned in the registration materials ahead of time (as did I), and my only (minor) suggestion for improving future presentations are for her to lead us in tasting the particular cheeses, rather than to have us just eat along while she’s explaining history, details of rind, etc. Even better if Context would collaborate with online cheese mongers to sell selections. FWIW, in purchasing the recommended cheeses on my own, I was unable to find all five at a single seller, and opted for four from one seller (minimum chunks of 1/2 pound), and got a “Paris” Brie from my local Whole Foods (they did not have any of the particular AOC cheeses). I spent slightly over $100 (including shipping) to get larger quantities of cheeses than ideal, given what Jennifer mentioned about soft cheeses lasting only a few days and harder ones only a week). I suspect there’s a profit-making opportunity for context at a price point less than or equal to $100 to ship all five recommended cheeses as an add-on to those who would wish to avail themselves of that opportunity.

M
M.P.d. (Seattle, US)
Review of French Cheeses

Excellent presentation. Knowledgeable speaker.

A
Ann Moser (Washington, US)
Wonderful exploration of French cheese!

This class was wonderful! I learned so much about cheeses. I never knew that cheese can be so interesting.

M
Mary S. (Vancouver, CA)
Delightful seminar!

This was a very interesting and informative seminar on French cheeses. Jennifer is knowledgeable and articulate.

Customer Reviews

Based on 74 reviews
91%
(67)
7%
(5)
3%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A.R. (Renton, US)

Excellent and engaging session with extremely knowledgeable and helpful expert! Perfect session to get us excited for upcoming trip to France.

H
H.v.t.i.p.t. (Silver Spring, US)
Merry Cheesemas!

The “guide,” Jennifer, was wonderful. She delivered a wonderful mix of history, industry “geeky” notes on production methods, and what lends the distinctive character each of the selected cheeses possesses. She also had helpful cultural information (don’t slice the nose off of the Brie!) and info on wine pairings and designing a cheese board. I assume that most of the participants had acquired the cheeses mentioned in the registration materials ahead of time (as did I), and my only (minor) suggestion for improving future presentations are for her to lead us in tasting the particular cheeses, rather than to have us just eat along while she’s explaining history, details of rind, etc. Even better if Context would collaborate with online cheese mongers to sell selections. FWIW, in purchasing the recommended cheeses on my own, I was unable to find all five at a single seller, and opted for four from one seller (minimum chunks of 1/2 pound), and got a “Paris” Brie from my local Whole Foods (they did not have any of the particular AOC cheeses). I spent slightly over $100 (including shipping) to get larger quantities of cheeses than ideal, given what Jennifer mentioned about soft cheeses lasting only a few days and harder ones only a week). I suspect there’s a profit-making opportunity for context at a price point less than or equal to $100 to ship all five recommended cheeses as an add-on to those who would wish to avail themselves of that opportunity.

M
M.P.d. (Seattle, US)
Review of French Cheeses

Excellent presentation. Knowledgeable speaker.

A
Ann Moser (Washington, US)
Wonderful exploration of French cheese!

This class was wonderful! I learned so much about cheeses. I never knew that cheese can be so interesting.

M
Mary S. (Vancouver, CA)
Delightful seminar!

This was a very interesting and informative seminar on French cheeses. Jennifer is knowledgeable and articulate.