Presentation and cutting
When it can be displayed upright (whole or halved), La Fourme d’Ambert is generally cut and sold in rings. All you then need to do is to cut the cheese into pieces, as you would a Camembert.
How to savour La Fourme d’Ambert ?
With its delicate taste, its woodland undergrowth fragrance, and its mild, rounded flavour, La Fourme d’Ambert stands out amongst other blue cheeses. Its mild taste compliments any of a meal’s key moments. La Fourme d’Ambert holds its own as part of a varied cheese board and can also be used in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes.
How to select your Fourme d’Ambert AOP ?
Purchased as a half-fourme, the cheese can be served on a cheese board on its own, accompanied by sliced pears. Equally, you can purchase the cheese in portions, or you can find it whole, served upright displaying its light blue-grey covering. Its centre should reveal an ivory essence with well-developed and regularly distributed blue veins. La Fourme d’Ambert should be springy to the touch and release a subtle scent of woodland undergrowth.
Ideally, La Fourme d’Ambert AOP is stored for a few days in a cool place and in its original paper wrapping. If you have selected a slightly less mature cheese, you may leave it to age for a few days, or even weeks, in the bottom drawer of your fridge. To enjoy the full palate of flavours, remove the cheese from the fridge and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least an hour before serving.
Food and wine combinations
In terms of bread, the cheese goes perfectly with an artisanal baguette or, equally, with a farmhouse loaf, rye bread, or even a lightly toasted ginger loaf.
In terms of wine, well-balanced white wines of the region are a perfect accompaniment (Côtes d’Auvergne AOC). Sweeter wines such as the Coteaux du Layon or Muscat de St Jean de Minervois will also bring out its subtle flavours.
In terms of fruit, the cheese can be accompanied by dried fruit (raisins, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.) and fresh fruit (figs, raspberries, cherries or even bananas!) or mango chutney.
Cheese board recommendations
For a beautifully balanced board, combine La Fourme d’Ambert with other Auvergne AOP cheeses: whether a Saint-Nectaire, a Cantal, a Salers or even a Bleu d’Auvergne, which has a more robust flavour and a creamier texture. This is what we call a regional cheese board ! A number of themed cheese boards are also possible: ask your cheese merchant for advice, and let your imagination run wild !
A look at… the cheese-merchant’s role
Cheese merchants are the everyday ambassadors of the French cheese-making tradition and this unique culinary art. There are 3,200 cheese merchants distributed throughout France, in boutiques and in markets.
Apart from his/her role as a retailer, the cheese merchant must, of course, be informed about the origin of cheeses, manufacturing techniques and the various stages of maturation, so that s/he can advise the customer according to his/her tastes. The cheese merchant will also take into account the seasons and how they impact livestock cycles. S/he is able to continue aging the cheeses in his/her cellars and, therefore, must have an eye and a knack for judging the maturation process. Does this vocation appeal to you? Would you like to become a cheese merchant ?