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Master cheese maker Claude Lauxerrois, of Ferme Jehan de Brie in France, has been crisscrossing the globe, promoting the Selles sur Cher, Reblochons, and Camemberts of his native land.
During another visit to Beirut. I say another because he has been here nine times already, Me. Lauxerrois presided over a series of cheese-and-wine tastings at The Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel Beirut. Me. Lauxerrois offered a dreamy lineup of goodies, ranging from a mild Maconnais (a soft goat's-milk cheese) to a breathtaking Roquefort so profoundly rich, it dissolved on the tongue like butter and many other sumptuous french cheeses all paired with Lebanese wines.
One of the main rules of Me. Lauxerrois is his insistence on tasting local wines in the countries he visits. Me. Lauxerrois planned tasting strategies, starting with mild goat cheeses like the Selles sur Cher, then moving on to firmer, more piquant varieties like Comte (a cow's-milk cheese similar to Gruyère) and finishing up with the pungent, funky Roquefort; palates were cleansed with wine and bread in between.
Cheeses Maitre Lauxerrois brought with him directly from France: Camembert, Reblochon, Nuit d'or, Langres, Maconnais, Ste. Maure, Deauvillais, Abbaye, Livarot, Brie de Meaux, Munster, Boulonnais, Comte, Cantal, Fondant d'Anjou, Selles sur Cher, Tomme and Beaufort.
All cheeses were displayed with tags that explain what each is and which region they are from, so the connoisseurs know what they are tasting and where they are from. It was a great experience.