There’s No Cheddar Cheese In France!!!!!!

France is the number one exporter of cheese in the world and there are over 300 kinds of cheese made in France. Some say there are closer to 1,000 types of cheese so 300 really is considered a conservative number.

That’s a lot of cheese.

Cheddar Cheese in France

Despite all the cheese being produced and eaten in France, I was surprised to learn that cheddar cheese is not widely available in France.  Some of the French people I spoke with even scoffed at the idea that cheddar is actually a REAL cheese.  uh huh!!

While attending  middle school in France, my son Andre, was asked several times by his school mates “what is cheddar cheese?”, “What does it taste like?” and “what is it used for?”.

This might sound silly to North Americans and the British but since it’s not widely available and rather expensive, it’s rare that French children get to try cheddar unless they have travelled somewhere it is available like England, Ireland, Canada or the US.

I guess they have so many other cheeses they eat regularly like Brie, Emmental and Camambert that they really don’t need to eat cheddar cheese. Who knows..

CHEDDAR CHEESE FACT: Cheddar is produced in several countries around the world. It has its origins in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. Countries that produce cheddar include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

What Do You Do If You Need Cheddar Cheese In France And Can’t Find Any?

Basically, you have a few choices. 

  1. Easiest: Find a cheddar cheese replacement that is similar in taste and texture ( I Discussed in Video)
  2. Easy but may require experimenting: Find a completely different cheese for your recipe. Bleu Cheese, Emmental, Comté (pronounced C-O-N-T-A-Y) are all good safe choices. I like to put Roquefort cheese on hamburgers and in mac and cheese.
  3. Costly and cumbersome: Order cheddar online.
  4. Search For A British Store: I found one in Paris. They are few and far between in France.
  5. DIY Cooks: Make your own cheddar cheese: Ummm…Need I say more?

EASIEST SOLUTION: Find Cheddar Cheese Replacements

I decided to not pay over 28 Euros per kilo for cheddar and look for a few cheddar cheese replacements.

We ended up trying over a dozen cheeses and came up with three cheeses that most closely resemble cheddar cheese or at least would do in a pinch. 

edam cheese1-Edam:Is actually a Dutch cheese from North Holland named after the town of Edam. It is widely available through out France and very affordable.

mimolette cheese

2- Mimolette: dates back to the reign of Louis XIV, who prohibited the import of Dutch cheeses into France. The people who lived in the the northernmost region of France, which is now Belgium had strong cultural ties to Holland and loved Dutch cheeses. Rather than smuggle in the contraband cheese they started producing their own version of Edam cheese with a French twist. That is how Mimolette was born.


cantal cheese3- Cantal:is one of the oldest French Cheeses made in France, pre-dating Roquefort (11th century). Surprisingly many people online said this was the least like cheddar cheese but both my husband and I found this tasted the MOST like cheddar cheese.

In fact, it tasted like a good aged cheddar.

4- Emmental: Technically this is nothing like cheddar but this cheese is everywhere in France. It’s the same cheese you find in fondues and French onion soup. Give it a try and use it instead of cheddar.

Conclusion:

If you like the basic cheddar cheese found in your local grocery store than Edam and Mimolette will be fine. If you like the taste of aged cheddar cheese, good enough to put on a cheese plate for a romantic diner or to make adult mac and cheese with truffle oil than go for an aged Cantal.

I put all three in my Mac and Cheese recipe and no one could tell the difference.

Resources:

Epicerie Anglaise located in parisI mentioned that you can find cheddar cheese at British stores and speciality stores. Well, If you are in Paris go to “Epicerie Anglaise http://www.epicerie-anglaise.com/. It’s expensive though, about 29 Euros per Kilo at the time of this writing.

DIY COOKS: Make Your Own Cheddar Cheese:

God help all you brave souls who want to attempt to  make your own cheese, below I will  list out a few cheese making books and kits you can use to do this. GOOD luck.

Meg

How fascinating…. no chedder in France. I had no idea. Luckily for me, or unlucky for me I don’t eat cheese. I work at a wine bar where we have some crazy cheesers. They won’t to know every detail of their cheese, where it’s from etc. etc. I can’t wait to read your post about how they eat so much cheese but are not fattys like us Americans. Maybe it’s processed cheese vs. fresh…. or they JUST eat cheese, not a big ol hamburger with melted processed gunk.
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    Annie Andre

    Damn Meg, what do you eat these days?

    It’s crazy how much booze and cheese the french eat and honestly i hardly see any obese people. I thought i found one the other day but when i got closer it turns out they were not French. Sadly it was an American couple. And the French don’t really go to gyms like in the US. Or do Americans even go to the gym? It’s so illogical but i’m learning why slowly and can’t wait to do a write up about it.
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Adrienne

Wow, no cheddar cheese in France. I bet that was a rude awakening but sounds like you guys have solved this problem.

I guess my question would be if you are out at a restaurant and I’m aware that their foods aren’t the same as ours, can you ask for a specific cheese then? I’m sure they have plenty to choose from since they are pretty big on different cheeses. I’d be curious to know.

Thanks Annie, another great video..

~Adrienne
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Adrienne,
    You asked: Can you ask for a specific cheese? yes and no.
    It depends on what you are ordering and the type of restaurant you are in. Typically i don’t ask for different cheeses because it’s usually in the food already.

    If i were to ask for a different cheese my choices would be one of the everyday cheeses here which are “emmental” “Gruyere” “comte” “brie”, cantal, Sometimes Roquefort and blue cheese depending on where you are. There are not a lot of sandwich shops here. There are a lot of Brie sandwiches on baguettes. Brie is eaten in quantity here like mozerella and cheddar are eaten in the states and Canada.

    Hope that answers your question.

Dan Sumner

I never knew that you couldn’t get cheddar cheese in France?

Not that I eat a lot of cheddar cheese anyway. I do like cheese i.e. Blue cheese, Emmental, Mozzarella, Apple wood. All with wine..

I also love cheese cake.

France is the place for food and I know how crazy the French are for eating.

I feel educated today Annie, than you. I look forward to the next instalment.

Also the video was funny :-D
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    Annie Andre

    Dan i am glad i could warn you before you come to France. It’s actually not even a big deal it’s just curious..
    Today i actually found cheddar cheese at our local market but there was only 3 packages amount a all the hundreds of packges of cheese. I actually love emmental which is usually very expensive in the us and canada but very inexpensive heree so it all balances out.
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Ameena Falchetto

They sell cheddar in the Auchan in Avignon!!! Had no idea that it was a delicacy … admittedly you don’t get the varieties of cheddar but you can get it … personally I hate emmenthal … which is frances equivalent!

Try Comte! Yummy, like strong cheddar!
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Ameena, LOL, i’m not sure i would call it a delicacy. In California YES, we had some pretty expensive and good aged cheddar that were from Australia and England but not here. The expensive cheddar I cheese i found in Paris was actually the the cheap stuff similar to what i would find in the US and canada with Orange coloring added to it YUCK!. Oooh i have to run now to eat my emmental omlette…

Hajra

No cheddar in France.. how did people survive it? ;)

Well, I come from a country that isn’t so cheese crazy but thankfully, I grew up in a country that has cheese everywhere! :) At least easily available in supermarkets!

Why aren’t French people fat now… I have to so some research into that! So much of cheese and drinks! And still slim.. surprising!
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    Annie Andre

    Hajra,
    I thought the same thing at first. Honestly, there is no shortage of cheese here. We all eat loads of it too. Just not cheddar. Lately it’s goat cheese drizzld with honey. YUMMY. I’m having a blast researching why French people are not fat as a nation in comparisson to the US. It’s actually quite interesting.

    Sylviane Nuccio

    Hi Hajra,

    I had to get back to you on that one. Believe me the French don’t need cheddar cheese, we have so many over there, that’s unbelievable. Cheeses that I’ve never seen here.

    Why French are not fat? It’s because of several reasons… 1. They don’t really believe in junk food and snacks. 2. They don’t drink sodas. 3. They eat healthier and non process food.

    Those are some of the reasons, there are others… why French are keeping healthy :)
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Sylviane Nuccio

Hi Annie,

I’ve seen you on Adrienne’s blog and the title of your post made me click, that and the fact that I am trying very hard to extend my online relationships with other bloggers.

The reason why I was attracted by your title is that it had the word “France”, my country of birth. By the way your name is 100% French, what about you? Are you French?
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    Annie Andre

    Sylviane,
    I’m so glad you stopped by. Now I have a personal connection from France who i can ask many questions. I agree, who needs cheddar cheese. I actually don’t eat that much cheddar cheese but it still surprised me that its so hard to find.

    Yes and no about me being French. I am French Canadian on my fathers side. I can trace his routes back to France Poitou of unbroken French last names. My father was Jean-Louis Andre and my brother is Louis Andre. All very french names and yes i do speak french too. LOL. Granted, i have a different accent than a the French of France but as you know we still understand one another no problem.

Lenia

Hey Annie,
Great video once again! Well, as I have already lived in France for a while I see your point and how it is not to be able to find some products that we find in our country. My problem was not about cheddar cheese but about spanakopita, good feta cheese, mezes and many other delicious products that we eat in Greece but we cannot find in France. Sometimes we find these kind of products but they are not in a good version :)
Off course i am not going to complain because French food is amazing it self so I had no problem to eat well there. Plus, i had the unique advantage to bring stuff from Greece and share them with my French friends every time I visited my family :).
Thank you for sharing!
Have a good day
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James

I lived in France for around a year and finding cheddar as difficult however a few supermarkets (especially in parts of France with large numbers of British expats) have started to stock it. It’s just bog-standard processed British cheddar, but still nice to have.

I mainly used Gruyere as a substitute.
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Libby

I don’t live in Paris but in Annecy and have had no problem finding cheddar cheese. The sell off the wheel at the Auchan supermarket at Epangy and also the local Huit a Huit at Methon Saint Bernard stock both a mild & aged Cheddar

Xavier

Hi,
I live in “Les Arcs sur Argens”, close from La Garde, and you can find a “seriously strong” cheddar in the Hyper U supermarket (we have a lot of British Expats here). You can find other good things like that, but unfortunately no Pimm’s.
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Xavier,
    Seems like wherever there are expats there is cheddar cheese… I know Les arcs sure argens. I have not been there yet but if i do do i will be sure to get some strong cheddar. In the mean time, we have gotten used to NOT eating cheddar cheese. I can even make mac and cheese without cheddar now. It’s quite good with emmental and blue cheese..MMM
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