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FROMAGE FORT: The elegant French Cheese Spread

As I am a cheese addict, when I discovered ‘fromage fort’ in France I said ‘Oh girl, this recipe is for you’!

Translated as ‘strong cheese’, this is a generic term for a French cheese spread, deliciously prepared by blending together different cheeses, wine, garlic and aromatic fresh herbs. Strong cheese, which was also called “poor man's meat” was a popular dish eaten by workers, peasants, and underground miners. It is full of nutrients and is a great solution to rescue and revalue all those bits and pieces of leftover cheeses.

I usually like to combine a salty cheese with some soft/young goat cheese, and a touch of a spicy cheese: Camambert, Brie, Pecorino…. There is no single recipe for fromage fort. Use whatever you have at hand, in your refrigerator. If you are using a salty cheese like blue cheese be careful about the amount as its strong flavor should not overcome the other tastes. One of the cheeses should be a soft, runny cheese to incorporate all. You can use cream cheese, labneh, strained Turkish or Greek yoghurt or even butter if you prefer.

  • 250 gr leftover cheeses (cut into small cubes or crumbled)

  • 50-100 gr soft cheese (goat, cream cheese or butter)

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 60 gr fresh herbs: chives, basil , parsley, thyme, dill, rosemary, spring onions (combined or whichever you have on hand) all chopped finely

  • 50 ml dry white wine (or apple cider, brandy, Calvados, Armagnac…)

  • Freshly ground black pepper (or other pepper)

Put the cheeses in the food processor with wine, garlic, herbs, black pepper and mix all until smooth. Adjust amounts to your tasting. Transfer the fromage fort into a bowl and put it into the refrigerator to chill and become firm.

Serve it with toasted bread, baguette, crackers, blinis, boiled small potatoes, veggies or polenta. You can put it into a mold and serve it in a cheese platter.

Chef's tip: Instead of wine you can use some vegetable stock.

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