French fine dining isn’t complete without the classic cheese trolley. Here are five top picks from Saint Pierre.
The importance of the quintessential cheese course in French fine dining cannot be emphasised enough. Saint Pierre’s cheese trolley is an iconic feature and an integral part of the dining experience.
“Tableside service is a throwback to the spirit of old-school hospitality and I’m always on the lookout for new cheeses that we can offer to our guests. Taste testing cheese is part and parcel of that sourcing process. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it, so it might as well be me,” says Chef Emmanuel with a cheeky grin.
Saint Pierre’s selection of cheese is served alongside accompaniments such as slices of baguette; grapes, pecans; rosemary, pear and Champagne compote; crackers (depending on the season, examples of past flavours include fennel seed and black sesame); and truffle-infused honey. From soft to semi-soft and hard to blue-veined, there’s one for every turophile.
Here are five of Chef Emmanuel’s current favourites.
1. Tomme de Savoie Fermiere Génépi
A greyish rind speckled with white spots hides a supple, melting cheese that reveals milky and herbaceous flavours. This Tomme – made in Savoie – has been matured with local génépi plants, which also serve to produce a traditional herbal liqueur.
2. Termignon d’Alpage
A rare cheese that is manufactured at altitudes of 2,500 feet between the months of June and September. Today only four producers supply this unique cheese made from the raw milk of Tarine and Abondance cows. It has a sandy rind that when cut, exposes a golden buttery layer, which in turn surrounds a crumbly off white centre.
3. Le Persillé de Tignes
Back in the eight century, Persillé de Tignes was enjoyed by Charlemagne (Emperor of the Romans). Today, Paulette Marmottan is the only farmer left who produces this delicate blue cheese. Unlike traditional blue-veined cheese, this is not seeded with penicillium
roqueforti, affording it a white interior. It exudes aromas of forest and mushroom, while tart and lightly goaty flavours are released when it melts on the palate.
4. Cesar Regalis
French master fromager Dominique Bouchait spent some time in Australia. After seeing how jams were conserved in wax, he decided to apply this technique to Roquefort. The result is Cesar Regalis: a creamy blue cheese with parsley notes, made from pasteurised ewe’s milk in Gascogne, South West France.
5. Le Napoleon Brebis Artisanal
This semi-hard cheese is also produced by Dominique Bouchait, and is matured for 10 months. Expect a remarkable Pyrenees raw sheep’s milk cheese that is smooth, full flavoured and slightly fudgy in texture encased in a brown rind.