Around the UK in French cheeses…

June 29, 2011

Once again – a huge thank you to everyone who made the blogging events earlier this month a huge success. The wines were kindly provided by French Connection Wines which are available at most supermarkets. The wines went down very well (particularly in Manchester!) and different wines matched the cheeses perfectly. Also a big thank you to Peckhams in Glasgow, The Soup Kitchen in Manchester and Café Délice in Brighton – the venues and staff were perfect!

And we’re back!

June 10, 2011

To those of you who made it, a big BIG Vive le Cheese thank you for getting this week off to such an amazing start! We really enjoyed meeting all of you – the reception we got we just unbrielievable! (Oh good. Cheese puns. -Ed)

Starting at Peckham’s in Glasgow, we were joined by bloggers and guests from across Scotland. Local weegies (including our very own Phoebe Weller) mingled effortlessly with hardy East Coasters who’d made the trek from Edinburgh and Dundee. To the couple who’d joined us the day before their honeymoon – we hope we got your married life off to a flying start, enjoying cheese so soon after saying ‘I bleu’. (Yeah, that was bad.)

The banter was quick and the wine was flowing. The good people of Glasgow got our little Tour de Fromage off to a cracking start. Tucking in to Chinese afterwards (thanks to Phoebe for the recommendation!), we were feeling good. Briely good. (Enough now.)

Tuesday took us out of Scotland, down the west coast to beautiful Manchester. The good people at Soup Kitchen hosted us with some funky music and some even funkier guests (we were mentioned in Stylist, don’tcha know). Busy, jovial and dare we say a little bit drunk, Manchester never disappoints. It’s always (em)mental. (Consider this a written warning.)

After all that time in the city, we needed some sea air so off we went, bucket and spades in hand, to Brighton, San Franciso of the north. After a scrumptious ice cream (weren’t you supposed to be working?) we arrived at Café Délice, a beautiful, intimate venue with a crowd to match. Quizzing Phoebe on the hows and wheys of cheese production, Brightonistas put the Roving Fromagerie through her paces and even had the good grace to take her out afterwards (I guess they liked her answers). That night (or if you’re Phoebe, the next day) we went home, with cheese in our bellies and love in our hearts. A truly great time was had by all of us so  we couldn’t say good bye without saying thank you.

Thank you to the wonderful people at French Connection, who supplied the delicious wine we were all drinking (available at Morrison’s). Thank you too, to the wonderful Phoebe Weller, who kept the crowds entertained with her wit, knowledge and infectious joie de vivre. And an extra big  thank you too to our wonderful guests. You made it fun, entertaining, and always so different. Always so fraiche. (You’re fired.)

Cheese and wine tastings hit the UK!

May 13, 2011

We are on the road with French cheeses – taking it to all corners of the UK in June 2011 (slight exaggeration – Glasgow, Brighton and Manchester).  It will be a cheese and wine tasting hosted by the Roving Fromagiére herself – Phoebe Weller.  If you are a food or wine journalist or blogger local to either of the three areas – please get in touch by either commenting below or contacting me at sarah.brown@sopexa.com. If you are an aspiring journalist or blogger please don’t hesitate to contact me also! The more French cheese fans the merrier!

Have nice weekends cheese fans!

Happy Easter!

April 21, 2011

This Easter is set to be a scorcher, so I am sure there will be a few barbeques planned for the next four days. We have some great recipes on our website www.vivelecheese.co.uk but here is an incredibly simple and tasty thing to do with either your Camembert or Brie.  The barbeque gives the cheese a delicious smoky taste and this would be a great starter or snack.   
Enjoy the weather!

  1. Take a whole cheese and stud the top with garlic cloves to taste.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and add a grind of black pepper.
  3. Wrap in foil and place on the barbecue grill for 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is good and soft.
  4. Unwrap and eat with a spoon and some good crusty bread.

Tips from a cheese expert

April 15, 2011

We’ve all been there: coming home late after a tough day at work, tummy screaming at you for food. But, no! You open the fridge door and it’s seems there’s nothing in there but a few random bits and bobs – nothing that would possibly work together. Or so you thought!

When speaking with our Vive le Cheese regional competition winners, they came up with some really crafty ideas on what you can do in just that sort of dire “there’s no food in the fridge” situation. And on top of that, their ideas are really clever and delicious – you could even proudly serve these snacks and dishes up to your guests, and they would never know you were due a trip to the supermarket!

To let you in on their tricks of the trade, here are some tips from our London winner, Alan Pickett. More coming next week.

Allan Pickett – regional winner from Plateau restaurant, Canary Wharf says:

If you have any small crumbs of French cheese as leftovers sprinkle them over some quality sourdough and toast under a grill for a minute or two. Perfect snack food for a weekend.
Why not sprinkle some crumbled blue cheese like Bleu d’Auvergne over baked potato instead of your normal cheese?
When making a lasagne, try adding some soft French goat’s cheese as you layer it. It will give a wonderful flavour.  
Always keep your hard French cheese rinds and add them to soups for flavouring. Remove before blending the soup though!

All of the chefs “how to” videos are up on Youtube now – check out the Vive le Cheese channel.  I will be uploading the rest of the recipes on here though as well. If you have any ‘cheese tips’ of your own – please comment!

Dez Turland’s winning recipe – French Emmental and Roscoff Onion Tart

April 8, 2011

Dez Turland is the Development Chef at Saunton Sands hotel in North Devon, and our Vive le Cheese winner. Emmental is a medium hard cheese with slightly sweet and nutty taste. This dish is very
simple to recreate and would be great as a main course and can be eaten either hot or cold. This tart
is great when accompanied by a Beurre Blanc sauce and watercress salad.

Preparation time:  10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
200g French Emmental cheese
500g Roscoff onions – thinly sliced
150g Cornish Coppa ham – pre-sliced
100g unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
5 filo pastry sheets

Method
Start by melting ½ the butter and brush each filo pastry sheet. Line a 10” flan ring by layering the pastry sheets on top of each other and cook in the oven at 175oC for approximately 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. 
For the filling, melt the remainder of the butter in a saucepan, add the onions and cook until soft. Remove from the heat and allow them to cool slightly, then mix in the French Emmental and egg yolks. To fill the tart, start with a layer of Coppa ham in the bottom, then alternate layers of the French Emmental mix and Coppa ham, finishing with the French Emmental mix.  Return to the oven and cook for 20 minutes at 175oC.

Tip: This tart is great when accompanied by a Beurre Blanc sauce and watercress salad. 

Beurre Blanc sauce

Ingredients
150ml Cornish Rattler cider
100g unsalted butter – cold
100g double cream
30g shallots
10g rosemary

Method
For the sauce, add a small amount of the butter to a pan, add the shallots and rosemary and cook until soft.  Add the Rattler cider and reduce by ½ then add the double cream and bring to the boil.  Whisk in the cold butter and keep warm.

Vive le Cheese returns!

April 8, 2011

Dearest Cheesefans,

Apologies for our absence, but we are back, with lots of mouthwatering recipes and tips for you to truly make the most of French cheeses. Whilst we were away, we have been very busy – so to fill you in on what has been going on….. In late 2010, we joined forces with the Craft Guild of Chefs to conduct a recipe development competition. The judges were amazed by the standard of entries, and our 6 regional finalists recipes really were a great result.  I will be uploading the recipes on the blog, starting with the winner, Dez Turland from the Saunton Sands hotel in Braunton, Devon.  We travelled up and down the length of the UK to have all 6 regional finalists filmed creating their dishes, which have been uploaded on Youtube, on the Vive le Cheese channel. 

Happy Friday from Vive le Cheese – Enjoy your weekends!

Congratulations to the Winning Bloggers!

June 4, 2010

Finally the winners for the Vive le Cheese best blog post competition have been chosen. Getting to this point has been a triumph!

First bloggers had to eat several kilos of French cheese (no complaints there) then they let their creative juices rip with fantastic photography and well chosen words to make original, informative and entertaining blog posts.

Then it was over to the judges: Patricia Michelson at La Fromagerie; Laurent Damiens at CNIEL and Denise Navarro also at CNIEL. They read each post on the hunt for top quality writing and stunning visual presentation. They found it. The standard of entries was very high and reflected the vitality and diversity of UK food blogging as well as we Brits love of French cheeses.

There were two categories the best written blog post and the best visual blog post, both attracted a wide range of entries. Here are the judges favourites:

THE BEST WRITTEN BLOG

Runners Up

Gourmet Chick Cara Waters‘  review of the bloggers evening at la Fromagerie really appealed to the judges because it showed off her enjoyment of the event.

There were two favourites that showcased French cheese and drinks. The first from Lucy Bridgers at Wine Food and Other Pleasures concentrated on classic cheese and wine pairings

Meanwhile Susanna Forbes from Drink Britain demonstrated that the entente cordial is alive and well by partnering French cheese and British drinks. Roquefort and Lagavulin malt whisky is a revelation!

Second Place

But it was Miquel Ros’ blog Gourmet Origins which took second place with an in-depth look at Brie. ‘This has great historical content and a real focus on authenticity,’ said Patricia Michelson.

Congratulations Miquel a copy of Patricia Michelson’s new book Cheese is on its way to you.

First Place

The top spot went to Craig Linton at Fund Raising Detective whose post about the bloggers event at La Fromagerie really showed off his curiosity about the cheese and appetite to learn.

A box of cheese worth £100 is on its way to you. We are sure you will enjoy it!

BEST VISUAL BLOG POST

Runners Up

Kavita Favelle’s blog post on Kavey Eats includes some great pictures of La Fromagerie. They really demonstrate the sense of discovery that we all felt as we learnt more about the wonderful topic of French cheese.

Another visually impressive blog came from Patrick Carpenter who included a video on his post which shows his passion for munster cheese.

Second Place

However the lovely summery pictures and original recipe made Anne Faber’s post on Anne’s Kitchen a very strong contender in second place.

We hope that Patricia Michelson’s book Cheese provides you with further inspiration. It’s on its way to you.

First Place

And the first place prize went to Gail Haslam at One Million Gold Stars. ‘The content of her blog on the bloggers event at La Fromagerie was really engaging and the photographs are beautiful’ said Patricia Michelson.

Congratulations we hope you enjoy your £100 cheese box.

So a big thank you to all who participated in the Vive le Cheese bloggers competition. It’s been a great read!

Competition Deadline Extension – Midnight on Monday 3rd May 2010

April 28, 2010

A couple of bloggers have asked if we can extend the deadline for the French cheese blog post competition so they can work on their posts over the bank holiday weekend. As there is no practical reason why we can’t do this we have decided to say yes!

So the new deadline for the Vive le Cheese blog post competition is now midnight on Monday 3rd May 2010.

We’ve had a lot of great entries into both the best visual French cheese blog post category and the best written post category, so the competition is getting tough. However with such great prizes: two £100 cheese boxes and two signed copies of Patricia Michelson’s new book Cheese, to be won, it is hardly surprising that bloggers are feeling inspired.

Of course that doesn’t mean they can’t be beaten, so if you’ve got a great French cheese blog post idea but haven’t had time to work on it, we hope the extra three days will give you the opportunity to get creative and send us your tastiest French cheese blog posts. We are looking forward to reading them on Tuesday.

We look forward to receiving your competition entry posts at

vivelecheese@sopexa.com by midnight, Monday 3rd May 2010.

How to enter

1. Get inspired, get writing, photographing and videoing.

2. Select your best work and submit it by midnight, Monday 3rd May 2010 via a link to

vivelecheese@sopexa.com

You may choose to enter your blog posting into both the visual and written categories.

Prizes

The Best Written Blog

First Prize

A French cheese hamper provided by La Fromagerie worth £100.

Second Prize

A signed copy of Patricia Michelson’s newly published book Cheese published by Jacqui Small

The Best Visual Blog

First Prize

A French cheese hamper provided by La Fromagerie worth £100.

Second Prize

A signed copy of Patricia Michelson’s newly published book Cheese published by Jacqui Small

The Judges

Patricia Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie and author

Laurent Damiens,  CNIEL

Denise Navarro, CNIEL

Competition Rules

1- Open to residents of the UK, except employees and their families of Sopexa UK, their agents or anyone professionally connected with the promotion. Entrants under the age of 18 must have a parent’s or guardian’s permission to enter.

2-  Entries close on midnight, Monday 3rd May 2010 and must be submitted via a link to

vivelecheese@sopexa.com. Only one entry into each category i.e. visual and written allowed.

3-  The winner will be notified by email within 30 days of the closing date.

4-  The promoter cannot accept any responsibility for entries damaged, delayed, corrupted or not received for any reason whatsoever.

5-  There is no cash or other alternative prize available, except that in the event of circumstances outside of its control the promoter reserves the right to provide a similar prize of equal or greater value.

6-  The decision of the promoter in all matters is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

7-  For the name and the county of the winner, send a SAE marked ‘Vive Le Cheese/Winners’ to Sopexa (UK), Buchanan House, 24/30 Holborn, London EC1N 2HS.

Blog Post Competition – Last Chance to Win a £100 Cheese Box!

April 24, 2010

Vive le Cheese Competition for the Best Written Blog and The Best Visual Blog

Only a few days left to go before the closing date of our Vive le Cheese blog post competition (30 April 2010). We’ve had some great entries already in both sections: visual posts that make the mouth water and the tummy rumble and written posts that make fantastic reading and great food for thought. But the game is far from over, the cheese lady has yet to sing… who knows what will pop into the Vive le Cheese inbox (vivelecheese@sopexa.com) in these next few days. We are looking forward to finding out.

Some bloggers, intent on research, attended an evening at La Fromagerie, London where they were treated to cheese tastings, a visit to the affineur room and a recipe and wine-matching workshop. However, the competition is open to all UK-based bloggers and as French cheese is such a vast and fascinating subject there are a wide array of topics that could be covered, we are delighted (but not surprised!) to see that there are plenty more interpretations arriving with all sorts of ideas as to what makes a great French cheese blog post. So if you missed out on La Fromagerie event, don’t feel you must miss out on this competition.

What is so exciting about this competition is that as there are an ever-growing number of blogs, each with its own individual style, there could be as many ideas as to what makes a great French cheese blog post as there are French cheeses! And at the last count we made that figure over 1,000!

We think that French cheeses are one of the world’s greatest food products and we know from talking to bloggers that a lot of you think the same! So we can’t wait to see lots and lots of blogs which celebrate the diversity, finesse, flavour and tradition of French cheeses.

We look forward to receiving your competition entry posts at

vivelecheese@sopexa.com by 30 April.

How to enter

1. Get inspired, get writing, photographing and videoing.

2. Select your best work and submit it by 30 April 2010 via a link to

vivelecheese@sopexa.com

You may choose to enter your blog posting into both the visual and written categories.

Prizes

The Best Written Blog

First Prize

A French cheese hamper provided by La Fromagerie worth £100.

Second Prize

A signed copy of Patricia Michelson’s newly published book Cheese published by Jacqui Small

The Best Visual Blog

First Prize

A French cheese hamper provided by La Fromagerie worth £100.

Second Prize

A signed copy of Patricia Michelson’s newly published book Cheese published by Jacqui Small

The Judges

Patricia Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie and author

Laurent Damiens,  CNIEL

Denise Navarro, CNIEL

Competition Rules

1- Open to residents of the UK, except employees and their families of Sopexa UK, their agents or anyone professionally connected with the promotion. Entrants under the age of 18 must have a parent’s or guardian’s permission to enter.

2-  Entries close on 30/04/2010 and must be submitted via a link to

vivelecheese@sopexa.com. Only one entry into each category i.e. visual and written allowed.

3-  The winner will be notified by email within 30 days of the closing date.

4-  The promoter cannot accept any responsibility for entries damaged, delayed, corrupted or not received for any reason whatsoever.

5-  There is no cash or other alternative prize available, except that in the event of circumstances outside of its control the promoter reserves the right to provide a similar prize of equal or greater value.

6-  The decision of the promoter in all matters is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

7-  For the name and the county of the winner, send a SAE marked ‘Vive Le Cheese/Winners’ to Sopexa (UK), Buchanan House, 24/30 Holborn, London EC1N 2HS.