Text read by Mary Peters

Questions to Emilie from Monique & Bernard, Seebach, France

In November 2020, (Brida Journal 48/20) Emilie, originally from Normandy, spoke about her new life in England. We agreed to continue to explore the world of cheese and so, several of you asked questions. Since then, the Pandemic has struck harder, the United Kingdom left the European Union. Both have made life a little more complicated, but Emilie found the time to answer everybody’s questions. We start with Monique and Bernard.

A huge thank you to Emilie. I look forward to a drink in the pub with you both as soon as the mess is over.  

  1. What sort of cheese do you import? 
    We import cheeses from all areas of France. The idea was to have a full French cheese board. Most of the cheeses we supply are PDO cheese (Protected designation of Origin)
  2. Are the cheeses hard cheeses or soft cheeses? 
    We have both, soft and hard cheeses.
  3. Are the cheeses artisan products or industrial products? 
    We work in partnership with family companies so even if the cheeses can be classified as industrial, we don’t work with big production sites. Our partners are cheese makers since several generations and are dedicated to keep traditional production processes.
  4. What types of milk? Goats, sheep’s or cow? 
    We have in our range all types of milk (cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk) except buffalo’s milk. For each type of milk, we can have soft and hard cheeses.
  5. Is the cheese pasteurized or unpasteurized? 
    We are lucky enough to supply pasteurised and unpasteurised cheeses, even if supplying unpasteurised cheeses on the UK market is more challenging.
  6. How is the cheese packaged? (box or in paper or plastic). 
    The packaging will change depending on the products. Most of the hard cheeses are under film with labels on top. Soft cheeses will be more under paper and sometimes, they are after packed with a cardboard sleeve (Chaource) or in a wooden box (Camembert). Some cheeses can be presented on small wooden boards and then put under film (mainly soft goat’s milk cheeses and few cows’ milk cheeses). Few cheeses can be in plastic shell as they become really soft over time (Saint Félicien du Dauphiné)
  7. Is the cheese packaged for wholesale or retail? 
    We work mainly with British retailers.
  8. How fresh is the cheese? 
    The cheeses we sell are made, matured and packed but depending on the cheese, the maturation time can vary from few days (soft cheeses) to several months. We sell a Comté PDO which is matured for 18 months
  9. How long is the shelf life? 
    The shelf life is linked to the type of cheese and the type of packaging. For pre-packed cheeses, it can go from 28 days to 100 days shelf life from packing. Typically, cut hard cheeses will have longer shelf life than cut soft cheeses. Whole soft cheeses have shelf life typically around 40-50 days from packing.
  10. What is the fat content? 
    Fat content will vary depending on the production process. If you take a cheese made from full fat milk, you will have a fat content around 20g per 100g. We sell also cheese made from milk enriched with cream. The fat content will be then more around 30g per 100g. You can find on the market reduced fat cheeses, but we don’t have this type of cheeses in our range.
  11. Do the producers you buy from also sell in France? 
    All our partners/production sites are located in France and manufacture cheese which are sold in France and a lot of other countries.
  12. Is the cheese produced just for export? (just to the UK) 
    We don’t sell cheeses which are only manufactured for the UK market. Our objective is to sell traditional French cheeses, a lot of them are protected by PDO certification, and therefore, those cheeses are available in a lot of countries.
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