Surely this is like selling fridges to Eskimos

Photo of blue cheese in FranceFrench cheese is loved throughout the world for its high quality and taste. It seems the stinkier the better, and the farms around here in La Clusaz are testament to just how stinky cheese caves can be. When my friends and family ask me to bring cheese to them, Roquefort blue cheese is up there with the most requested varieties. On top of that, no French cheese platter would be complete without a wedge of Roquefort.

You can imagine my surprise when, last week, I spotted these British blue cheeses in a French supermarket. Sacré cœur! There’s been an influx of cheddar varieties, but I never expected to see a blue cheese other than Roquefort on French supermarket shelves. It turns out that the Claxstone Smooth Blue is a pretty popular cheese too, winning the Supreme Champion award at last year’s Nantwich international cheese awards.

But will the French buy it?

My first thoughts were that they wouldn’t, because it would be like Brits buying a Cheddar-like cheese made in France. Surely this is like selling fridges to Eskimos! Then I remembered just how hungry the French are for cheese. If anyone can judge the quality of a cheese, it’s your average French person. While I’m still struggling to figure out which way I’m meant to cut that first piece of cheese on the platter and whether it’s one that should have the crust removed, my French friends have usually sampled all the cheeses and are onto round two. If it’s not already clear, I’m as sophisticated as a Mini Babybel when it comes to cheese. What do I know?

Do you think the French will embrace it?


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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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3 comments on “Surely this is like selling fridges to Eskimos
  1. Emily says:

    … I would be surprised if French people purchased English cheese, mostly because I have found that the British cheese that has made it over in the past has been offputtingly bad (I write somewhat bitterly, having tried repeatedly to buy a decent piece of cheddar in Lyon). I’d be interested to hear if that cheese (which looks lovely) sold, and who to…

  2. Wendy says:

    Emily, I hear you on the Cheddar front. My local Carrefour has stopped selling Cathedral City, which leaves something orange that tastes like wax, or Wyke Farms (odd taste). They’re still selling the English blue, so someone’s buying it!

    • Emily says:

      Ha! the red cheddar. I purchased that once in a fit of nostalgia, but it really resembled nothing at all that I have ever eaten before. Next time I’m in La Clusaz I might have to come and stockpile the English blue just to make a point.

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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