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How to combine European cheeses with Colombian flavors?

When people are forced to give up dairy, one of the first products that comes to mind is cheesessince they are one of the favorites of people in general, their exquisiteness and versatility when it comes to combining or accompanying dishes is something almost essential in the life of each person.

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But if you are one of the lucky ones who can live life freely in terms of the consumption of these foods, it is essential to know in depth the european cheesessince this is a varied alternative whose quality is worth savoring.

Although perhaps we Colombians do not know much about the subject, fortunately there is the campaign ‘The language of love’of European Cheeses, an initiative led by the National Interprofessional Center for Dairy Economy, also known as CNIEL by the acronym in French, in the company of the European Unionwith which it seeks to promote the consumption of French cheeses in the local kitchens of countries such as Colombia, Ecuador and Peru and obtain an interesting collaboration in the gastronomy of these destinations.

trading cards talked with Laura Lievanowho is the senior account director of Goula-Sopexa, an agency specializing in experiences related to the food industry, which seeks to make the Latin American market fall in love with this type of detail.

Cards: Why did you choose Colombia to carry out this campaign?

Laura Lievano: One of the main reasons why we chose this country for our campaign is the increase in food imports from the European Union to Colombia.

In 2019, Colombia imported more than 750 tons of cheese from the EU, which has a market share of 17.3% in this country. France, Italy and Denmark are the main exporters from the European Union to Colombia with 32%, 21% and 16% respectively. Another important reason to take Colombia into account in our campaign is the consumption of cheese by Colombians, which, on average, is 1.5 kg per year.

Additionally, Colombia has one of the most varied cuisines in the world and has many typical dishes and drinks that can go perfectly with the different French cheeses. Some examples are:

Dough:

● Bonus bread stuffed with French Camembert can be an innovative combination. The moist earth flavor that this cheese has, its sweet and unctuous paste contrasts with the softness of this preparation, which will make its flavor stand out and be the protagonist.

● Some achiras with French Blue cheese is another preparation that will highlight the best of Colombian gastronomy fused with French. A piece of this cheese, characterized by its soft textures, will perfectly combine with the hardness of this typical Colombian dough, combining two very original flavor sensations.

Fried:

● A typical Colombian preparation that blends perfectly with a French cheese is the carimañola accompanied or stuffed with French Emmental cheese, which stands out for its slow ripening and fruity notes. Its flavor, which intensifies when it melts, is the perfect complement for this typical food of the Caribbean region.

Beverages:

● Typical Colombian drinks can be paired with French cheeses and enhance the salty, acidic, sweet and fruity notes of each one. Feijoa distillate can be perfectly accompanied with French Brie cheese. The acid flavor of this drink highlights the creaminess and flavors of nuts and toasted almonds that characterize this cheese.

● For breakfast, nothing better than a delicious cup of sparkling hot chocolate accompanied by slices of Emmental cheese. The strong and fruity flavor that this cheese has creates a balance with the softness of this traditional drink in Colombian breakfasts.

European cheeses can be an alternative to elevate what we consider ordinary.

Photo: Courtesy – European Cheeses – FARFAN.MX

C: What do you want to achieve in Colombian gastronomy with the promotion of French cheeses?

LL: We would like the consumption of French cheeses in Colombia to become something everyday, to share with family and friends at any time, not just for special events. We also want Colombians to lose that fear of trying new preparations, or different pairings, to show them that an international product, such as French cheeses, can feel like something local, that, when integrating Colombian gastronomy and culture with the French, unique recipes and flavors can be created.

Colombia, in recent years, has become a country of gastronomic tourism due to its wide range of restaurants. Cultural migration from other countries to Colombia has managed to merge various cuisines, creating new dishes.

So, our main objective is to integrate French cheeses with local gastronomy, complement and increase the gastronomic offer that exists today in the country, in the category of cheeses, and that the consumption of these products becomes something daily on the tables of the Colombians.

C: What is the typical Colombian dish that would best combine with a cheese like Brie or Camembert?

LL: We believe that any typical dish would go well with a good piece of French cheese. But some recommendations can be:

● For nutritious elevenses, a bowl with traditional Colombian fruits such as cape gooseberries, strawberries and blueberries, accompanied by French Brie is perfect. The white rind of the cheese stands out among the tones of the food and its mild flavor, with notes of walnuts and toasted almonds, providing a rustic touch.

● The Colombian sweet stands out perfectly with cheeses such as Brie or French Camembert. The Veleño sandwich, characteristic for its guava smell and flavor, and its firm consistency, can be combined with the flavor of French Brie. For French Camembert, arequipe would be an ideal complement. The sweet and unctuous paste of this cheese, together with the softness of this sweet, will make one of the most desired desserts by Colombians, have a special quality of flavors.

● Traditional Colombian arepas would make an excellent pairing with French Brie cheese. The soft and flexible interior of the cheese, in addition to its brittle texture, blends perfectly with the crispness of the arepas, providing a unique flavor to each of the ingredients.

● The seafood casserole, typical of the Caribbean region, is one of the most desired dishes by Colombians. A few pieces of French Camembert, characteristic for their softness and creaminess, will give this preparation a different flavour, combining the sweetness of the cheese and the hardness and salt of the shellfish. Additionally, its white crust will stand out on the plate along with the variety of colors that this casserole offers.

● Combining cheeses with drinks is also an ideal option to make the most of the flavor of both cuisines. Some pieces of French Camembert cheese with shots of brandy will make a meeting with friends, a family party or a first date special and unique.

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C: Blue cheese is more difficult to combine with a dish due to its flavor, with which recipe would you recommend that this cheese could be the perfect complement?

LL: Charcuterie can be very well combined with French Blue cheese. A slice of this cheese, with its characteristic fine marbled color and smooth textures, wrapped in ham will make Colombian and French flavors stand out with just one bite. Some small chorizos, which stand out thanks to their flavour, will combine perfectly with a dip of this cheese, creating satisfaction on the palate.

● A delicious preparation that anyone loves are hamburgers. Grilled with Blue cheese, they can be accompanied by caramelized onions; its sweetness will stand out with the strong flavor that predominates in this kind of cheese.

● Pairing with this cheese is also a good option and what better way to do it than with a traditional Colombian drink: the refajo. Blue cheese is characterized by a strong flavor and will combine perfectly with the sweetness of the refajo. It is likely that many people consider that this is not a good mix, since they believe that the sweetness of the drink does not combine with the saltiness of the cheese, but it is precisely in the union of these flavors that a unique sensation is experienced, they are flavors that are complement.

● Sweetness also goes perfectly with this cheese. Guava jelly can be mixed with pieces of French Blue. The consistency of this sweet, combined with the softness and creaminess of this cheese, will create an incomparable fusion of flavors.

Source: Elespectador

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