I am a huge Francophile, so I love things that have a French flair. I was in food heaven when I was invited to a Cheeses of France pop up store in New York City by Aliah PR. Delicious cheeses and wines were served for foodies to enjoy cheese in different varieties. My favorite nosh that was served up was the macaroni and cheese made with a slew of different cheeses.
Cheese is known for being a luxury and delicacy in Europe making it an aphrodisiac. The French know how to make a delicious and sexy cheese so next time you are looking for a good cheese, go French.
While it would be great to fly off to France, you are able to experience your love of French cheese in the states. The pop up store takes place a few times a year around the county as well as other tasting events throughout the year. If you check out the Cheeses of France website, you can find out about events and where to buy your favorite French cheese.
One of my favorite cheeses at the event was Camembert. A cheese so creamy and delicious, it is known for being a famous soft French cheese. I scored this Grilled Camembert Sandwich recipe from the Cheeses of France website. Everyone loves a grilled cheese, but imagine a camembert grilled cheese with an aphrodisiac tomato soup. How oh la la, a foodgasm in the making.
Whip this up for your special someone, even if that person is you. Joie de vivre!
Grilled Camembert Sandwiches w/ Tomato Soup
10 ¼" slices bread
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
16 ¼" slices Camembert
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil,
1 sliced onion
2 crushed cloves garlic
2 1/2 pounds cored and chopped tomatoes
12 fresh basil leaves
salt and cayenne pepper
Sandwiches: Heat olive oil and cracked pepper over low heat. Turn off and let infuse for 10 minutes. Place sliced cheese on half of the bread slices (making sure the cheese comes to the edge of the crust). Place top slice on each sandwich and put them together so they are crust to crust. Cover all the sandwiches with a layer of plastic wrap and place a medium cutting board on top of sandwiches to gently weigh them down for 15 minutes. Using a pastry brush, thoroughly brush surface of both faces of the sandwich with the pepper oil. Preheat a Panini griddle on low or a medium sauté pan over low heat. Wipe surface with a little oil. Place sandwiches in griddle or pan and cook until slightly browned, 2 - 3 minutes per side until cheese is melted. Keep heat low so bread doesn't burn.
Tomato soup: Combine olive oil, onion and garlic in medium saucepan and sweat together for about 20 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent. Add tomatoes and cook another 15 minutes. Add stock and basil leaves and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 20 minutes.
Place soup into a large bowl through a fine strainer or food mill, to remove seeds, skins and basil. Salt and pepper (cayenne) to taste. Serve tomato soup hot with warm sandwiches. Drizzle extra virgin oil over the soup along with a couple small basil tops.