For a truly indulgent, luxury French foodie box, look no further than Cheese & Sympathy who offer a range of subscription options such as a cheese & wine box, a cheese only box or a wine only box. You can take these out on a monthly basis without any commitments, or you can treat yourself to a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription – with all options including the cost of delivery. I absolutely adore French cheeses and wines, so when they sent the following Cheese & Wine box, I was in my element!
The products are dispatched from France via plane to ensure optimal freshness, then are transported via 24 hour DHL courier straight to your chosen address. Everything was packaged in an insulated container that contained a large refrigerated gel pouch to keep all the products nice and cool.
The Cheese & Wine box that I received contained two bottles of wine and four different cheeses. I decided to try out the cheese first as I’d just brought some crackers that morning and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in!All of the cheeses were individually wrapped in delicatessen paper as they are shipped straight from specialist cheese shops in Bordeaux and Libourne near St Emilion, called La Boite Du Fromager. At first, I was a little worried that the cheeses would be a bit squashed, but the paper surprisingly provides just the right amount of protection, and they all arrived in perfect condition.
As I was unwrapping them, I was immediately impressed with the generous portion sizes, with each cheese being 200g or more – now that’s a lot of cheese! I was also impressed by the variety, as no two cheeses were alike, and each one brought their own different distinct flavour to the table. There was no information leaflet in the box explaining what the cheeses were, or any ingredients lists though, which I was disappointed by as it would have been nice to have each one labelled so you knew what they were. There was a flyer for the La Boite Du Fromager website, however, where I was able to match up the photos to the cheeses online. The website is in French of course, but luckily my mother was available to offer her translation skills as her French is much better than mine (I’m still learning!).
So onto the cheeses that I received:-Blue du Vercors Bio (200g, €6)
I’m not the biggest fan of blue cheeses unless they’re in a sauce (strange I know), but I really liked this one as it’s very mild and had just a subtle blue cheese flavour running through it. Made in the Vercors Massif mountains, originally by monks, this cheese features cows milk from three exclusive mountain breeds and is matured for a minimum of two months. It tastes completely different to any blue cheese I’ve ever tried before and makes a wonderful addition to a cheese board.Crown Of 4 Mountains (300g, €4.50)
The Crown Of 4 Mountains is a beautiful, soft, slightly sticky, Brie-like cheese with a natural rind. It’s handcrafted by a small, family run farm that’s existed for the last three generations in the Isère region. I love soft cheeses, and this one was so delicious on a simple cracker, or with some rocket leaves and tomatoes in a sandwich. It has a lovely sweetness with a subtle nutty and salty aftertaste, and the buttery softness of the cheese almost melts in your mouth.Tomme de Chèvre de Savoie (300g, €9.30)
If I had to choose a favourite cheese from this box, it would be this outstanding Goats cheese. From the Savoie provenance, this is a strong, powerful tasting Goats cheese with a nutty, almost spicy and fruity undertone. The texture is quite unlike other traditionally ‘hard’ goats cheeses, as it has a more flexible, Edam-style thickness to it. Very unique and very moreish! Pairs very well with red wine.Gaperon Farmer 1/2 (350g, €7)
When I first opened the box, I was hit with the most pungent smell of garlic, and the culprit was this huge portion of Gaperon Farmer. This soft cheese is made from an ancient recipe using raw cow’s milk, buttermilk, garlic, salt and pepper, from the Auvergne region. I like garlic, but I found this cheese to be too strong and overpowering for my tastebuds when I ate it on its own on a cracker. I tried a little of it melted onto a slice of warm baguette, and it was much more palatable. I imagine that this would be delicious in a stuffed mushroom recipe, or made into a pasta sauce where the strong garlic taste could be distributed and subdued somewhat.Moving onto the wines, there was a bottle of red and a bottle of white included in the box:-Agape Rouge 2015 (750ml, €8.60) – 12.5% vol
This was a pleasant, semi-dry red wine made from a tri-blend of Merlot (65%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) and Malbec (15%) grapes. It’s much lighter than the full bodied reds that I usually choose for myself, but I really liked the subtle fruity, spicy and oaky notes, and I thought that it went very well with the cheeses.Couleurs Du Breuil Les Petites Rochettes 2013 (750ml, €8)
A lovely Sauvignon Blanc with a medium sweetness and a refreshing, fruity aftertaste. This is the kind of wine that I would open up at the end of a dinner party to enjoy with the desserts, and of course, a delicious cheese board. I’d happily purchase this again if I can find it in the UK!
I thoroughly enjoyed testing out Cheese & Sympathy‘s excellent Cheese & Wine box, and my sister loved the experience too. It was such a pleasure to get to experience some proper artisan French cheeses that taste so different to what you can find here in England, and to try wines that work alongside them. I’d highly recommend Cheese & Sympathy as a gift subscription, or as a luxury treat to yourself.