One Stop French Wine and Cheese Party: Whole Foods Market #MadeinFrance

French Wine and Cheese with the #Winophiles and Whole Foods
Our French Winophiles group needs no encouragement to celebrate French wines and foods. We do it every month! When the opportunity arose to collaborate with Whole Foods Market and the wines and cheeses of France, we jumped at the chance. The wines and cheeses in our posts this month were generously provided by Whole Foods and the Wines and Cheeses of France. (click on any photo in this post to go to a full size slide show, “escape” to return)

During the month of October, Whole Foods Markets are featuring a nice selection of affordable French Wines and Cheeses at their stores (note that not all Whole Foods Markets have wine shops). If you see this post in time, please join the fun on a Facebook Live chat on Thursday October 5 at 5:30pm EDT.

French Wine and Cheese Pairing
The paradox in this discussion is that the French and we Americans think of “wine and cheese” in different ways. Sure, in France, a family might have a relaxing lunch or evening meal without cooking by taking a trip to the local farmers market for cheeses, bread and charcuterie.

Market day lunch from Lyon

On a recent trip to Lyon, we turned our market day haul into a wonderful lunch – the French way.

But wine and cheese as an appetizer? Never. Cheese most often comes as a separate course after dinner and before a final small dessert. A big treat in a French restaurant would be a visit by the cheese cart after the main meal is finished. The cheese is then enjoyed with the remainder of the wines from dinner.

Wine and Cheese in the US
In the states, we often think of wine and cheese as an appetizer, or as a party theme. As it turns out, this works just fine. There are a few tricks to putting together an excellent cheese tray:

  • Try to include a variety of cheeses. A great start is to choose a goat’s milk, a cow’s milk and a sheep’s milk cheese.
  • Go for a variety of textures from fresh to soft to firm to hard.
  • Washed rind cheeses are treasured in France but they’re a bit unusual here in the US. They do stink, but they are so rich and delicious, you owe it to yourself to try one!
  • Finish up the selection with a blue cheese. Always.

Testing Out the Whole Foods Wine and Cheese Pairings
Whole Foods Market blog has some useful pairing advice for the featured French wines here.

In preparation for the Facebook live event, we invited some friends over to test out the suggested pairings. Our friends were surprised by the questionnaire, but were willing to help me with their thoughts for the pairings. I put them to work!

Findings from Our Team of Experts
The evening of our party, we opened the following wines: Champagne, the Chablis, the Muscadet, the Morgon, the Chinon, the Cotes du Rhone, the Languedoc and the Cahors. For cheeses, we had: a goats milk “brie” (French and from Whole Foods, but not on the promotion list), Camembert, P’tit Basque, Epoisses, Comte, Mimolette and Forme d’Ambert blue cheese.

A wide selection of French wines

The trick with French wines is that they are usually named for the place, not the grape. You can learn the code!

Wine reviews:

  • Always fun to start with bubbles, and the Jacques Bardelot Champagne Brut was very nice, and a good price for the real thing!
  • People were pleasantly surprised and impressed with the Muscadet, not realizing it is different from Moscato. They were expecting sweet and got this lovely dry wine perfect for cheese (I was hunting for some raw oysters….)
  • The Chinon was a surprise winner and the first bottle emptied, even before the Champagne which never happens!  It was a bit less fruity and more earthy and paired fabulously with many cheeses.
  • The Cotes du Rhone and Languedoc reds were a pleasant surprise and many camera phones were used to snap label photos. These are delicious and familiar flavors to American wine drinkers.
  • Our Malbec fan friends were surprised to learn that Cahors was Malbec from France. They loved it and snapped more phone photos.

Cheese Thoughts

  • We didn’t get many comments on the goat brie, I would like to have offered a Chevre, but alas, none at our local Whole Foods (ahem).
  • The P’tit Basque was a surprise and loved by all. It paired beautifully with a number of wines and also loved having a little schmear of Adriatic Fig Orange spread (also from Whole Foods)
  • The Epoisses was appreciated, but the smell was a bit much for some. Julie and I were ok, as we absolutely love this cheese. More for us!
  • The Mimolette was judged by several as just too waxy. However, I thought it came alive with the Chinon.
  • The Fourme d’Ambert was the winner of the evening. Loved by all as a 100% appealing blue cheese. Creamy, mild, but oh so blue.

Great Ideas for French Wines and Cheeses
Take a look at all the great French Wine and Cheese ideas posted by our French Winophiles, thanks to Whole Foods Market!

Disclosure: The wines and cheeses were provided by Whole Foods Market.  All opinions expressed are mine.

Whole Foods Market French Wine and Cheese ideas at


7 Responses to “One Stop French Wine and Cheese Party: Whole Foods Market #MadeinFrance”
  1. Michelle Williams says:

    What a fun evening!

  2. I was recently sent on a trip specifically to pick up a slice of Fourme d’Ambert to pair with broccoli soup. It was up there with the best blue I’ve had since being in France. Thoughts on the different pairings?

  3. looks like you had a fun tasting! good tips on organizing a cheese tasting. We wound up with more soft cheeses based on what was available, a variety as you suggest is ideal.

  4. Wendy Klik says:

    Wow, now that is a party I would have liked to attend!!

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