A Brief History French Wine and Cheese
French wines and cheeses are famous throughout the world, thanks to their delicate qualities and delicious taste. Each is central to French cuisine. The French have consumed wine and cheese in combination with lunch and dinner for years. While fewer and fewer Francophones are venturing on home for an extensive midday break of wine and cheese with a warm meal, there is no denying the importance of these two indulgences to the country's culture. Drinking a glass of wine smack dab in the middle of the work day has been encouraged throughout France's history. A bottle of wine on the dinner table is to the French what a pitcher of ice water is to Americans.
Yet the French do not guzzle down their tasty wines with reckless abandon. They gracefully sip their wine at a casual pace, making sure to savor each drop. Francophones actually wait for a fellow diner to refill their glass. Large platters of cheese are traditionally passed around the table. Everyone is encouraged to take the pieces of cheese that they desire and place them on their plates. Cheese is typically spread along pieces of bite-sized bread and enjoyed as a makeshift sandwich without meat or condiments.
While most of us have heard of a few French cheeses, the country produces much more than that tasty brie that we would find in our local supermarket. Each region of France has its own distinct cheeses. In the early to mid-twentieth century, France produced 246 different types of cheese. Today, France has even more varieties, many of which are spin-offs of the country's most popular cheeses. France has hundreds of dairy companies that keep the country's refrigerators well stocked at all times.
There are three main families of French cheese: blue cheeses, soft cheeses, and pressed cheeses. Three types of milk are used to make these cheeses: cow's milk, sheep's milk, and goat's milk. French cheese is further divided into those that are manufactured in an industrial context and those that are from the farmhouse.
French wines are also specific to the country's regions. This is primarily attributed to cultural tradition yet also due to the geographical differences between distinct geographic areas. There are substantive differences between the grapes grown in different regions. The vast majority of French wines have been traditionally stamped with the phrase “vin d'AOC” to indicate their authenticity and integrity. This stamp proves that the wine underwent an extensive surveillance process during its creation and lives up to the region's historical standards of quality and taste. The country actually started a quality control institute, called the Institut National d'Apellations d'Origine, in 1905 to protect the reputation of the country's premier wines, cheeses, and other agricultural products. This institute has preserved the wine history of the country's regions throughout the past century.
French Cuisine at Pascal
So be sure to look for the “vin d'AOC” on your next bottle of French wine to verify its legitimacy. We're proud to offer some of the highest quality French wines and cheeses on our new menu, which is available Monday through Friday starting at 5 PM. Pair a high-quality French wine with one of our entrees and you'll feel as though you are living the decadent life of a true Parisian.