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For many of us, cheese and wine are essential ingredients in an enjoyment of life's finer things. But there are literally thousands of kinds of cheese and even more ways to savour them. Combined with just the right wine, cheese can give us a mouthfeel and taste which is simply unforgettable. Small wonder so many people happily own up to being addicted!

Depending on their country of origin, cheeses from around the world boast their own unique characteristics. Producing around 1,000 different varieties on its own, France really does deserve to be called 'The King of Cheeses'. Some 463 of the country's choices have earned the right to bear a coveted Appellation d'Origine Protégée or AOP origin protection logo. AOP is the official affirmation which reassures buyers that their cheeses have been produced in France.

It almost goes without saying the French passionately love their cheeses or fromages! The country's local artisanal choices have also won over countless supporters worldwide - increasingly large numbers of them here in Hong Kong. Many French cheeses are home-made, rare yield varieties which are only exported overseas in strictly limited quotas. Please rest assured city'super is the first place to look for such rare delicacies!
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History's first mention of cheese dates back some 6,000 years. With over 20,000,000 tonnes now produced annually, cheese has subsequently grown into probably the world's best-loved dairy product. Cheese's primary raw material is fresh milk from dairy cows, buffaloes, goats or sheep. Covering both hard and soft textures, the many varieties people love include cheddar, mozzarella and blue veined cheeses. When tasting cheese, it's best to begin with a milder flavoured product so as not overwhelm your palate. First-time tasters are ultimately sure to find a choice they adore by starting with one of the many cheeses from France - the world's largest and most versatile producer. 

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One of the most notable of city'super's multitude of French cheeses, Les Frères Marchand boasts an illustrious cheese making tradition dating back six generations to the early 1880s. Over the years, the brand has worked closely with many small but very high quality domestic cheese makers and now produces some 450 kinds of cheese. city'super remains Les Frères Marchand's only retail partner in Hong Kong. Cheese expert Patrice Marchand recently brought a variety of top quality products to city'super stores in Times Square and Harbour City, sharing tips on cheese by holding a series of tasting sessions. Highlights amongst the cheeses on offer included Comte cheese. Fermented from milk from cattle grazed on natural grasslands and matured over a long period, this cheese is astonishingly fully flavoured. In summer, the cow's milk in Comte cheeses is filled with aromas of flowers and fruits. In winter, the cheese has a heavier, hazelnut-dominated feel, this makes the Comte cheese's taste different.

MARCHAND Comte Cheese AOP V24 Months
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Camembert Cheese AOP
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C :What is the secret of Les Frères Marchand cheeses' success?

P:Leveraging more than a century's cheese making expertise, we produce and export literally hundreds of varieties of top quality cheeses. To ensure the quality and quantity of our yield, we work closely with some 200 specially selected small cheese makers. In doing so, we rigorously control cellar temperatures and ensure the optimal environment for the fermentation of premium cheeses.

C :Please share what you find most charming about cheese with our readers!

P:For me, cheese's appeal lies in the unique characteristics of its many varieties. There are currently over 1,000 different kinds of cheese one can choose from – all of which boast their own distinctive features! Whether hard or soft, strong or mild, creamy or dry, there's sure to be a cheese for every taste! Of all of our family's cheeses, the Marchand Comte Cheese (24 Months) is particularly popular here in Hong Kong.

C :How should consumers go about storing their cheeses?
P:As Hong Kong has a hot humid climate all year round, cheeses should ideally be stored in an air-conditioned environment in order to stop dampness from damaging their textures and tastes. Alternatively, cheeses can simply be placed in a refrigerator as long as their wrappings are replaced every couple of days.

C :What is your most unforgettable memory of your cheese making career?

P: A few years back, my brother was rooting around the cellar and found our Grandma's recipe for making cheese. Having followed her recommendations to the letter, the taste of the cheese he created enabled me to recall the flavour of a family tradition I hadn't tasted since I was a seven-year-old boy!

C:Which cheeses do you feel best partner red and white wines?
P:All kinds of white wines partner cheeses perfectly! For an extra special treat, be sure to team carbon grey goat's cheese (Marchand Selles Sur Cher) with your favourite white wine. As the taste of red wine tends to be so intense it's best to choose a lighter vintage or pair your vino with a stronger smelling dark cheese. Some people love complementing their cheeses with wines or beers from the same geographic region. Mimolette, a hard cheese from Northern France, for example, tastes lovely with the region's locally-produced beer. Blue badge cheese from southern France are also wonderful when combined with sweet white wines.

C:What is your personal favourite cheese?

P:While I adore Comete Cheese (24 Months) followed by Reblochen Fermier, I will happily eat different kinds of seasonal cheeses depending on the weather.
Raclette Cheese
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C:Can you suggest an ideal way to host a cheese tasting?
P:Cheese tastings should be very relaxed affairs! I tend to put cheese on bread and serve it with fruits or potatoes or even add a little jam – trust me, the latter combination is delicious! Using cheese warmer is another great way to release certain cheeses' aromas and stimulate your and your guests' taste buds.
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