A French recipe for ingeniously turning all those extra bits of cheese sitting in your fridge into a pot of spreadable deliciousness.

I’ve been holding on to this recipe for a while now.  I originally wanted to post it just before the holidays because I thought it would be the perfect recipe when most people are apt to have bits of cheese leftover from holiday parties.  When I didn’t get it posted then I decided it would be an equally good suggestion for a New Year’s Eve appetizer (it goes incredibly well with champagne, BTW), but I didn’t get it posted then either.  I contemplated holding on to it until later this year when the next holiday season rolls around again in 8 months but I really didn’t want to wait that long.

I’m not sure why but I tend to think of this as a cold weather recipe, maybe because this robust spread is just made to be eaten by a toasty fire with a glass of velvety red wine in hand.  According to the weather reports I’m seeing in some parts of the country, many of you still have time to enjoy it this way.  Happily, for the other parts of the world where winter is just a memory, this little luxury is equally as lovely with a crisp white wine or an ice cold beer while relaxing on the patio on a beautiful evening.  Either way, if you love cheese like I love cheese, this recipe will come in handy more often than you know.

I’m not responsible for the creation of this dish, that honor belongs to the French.  Leave it to the French to come up with a spectacular way to turn left-over remnants of cheese in to an epicurean delight all its own simply by adding a bit of wine and a touch of garlic.  The name, fromage fort, means strong cheese.  I’m not sure where this name originates but if I had to guess I’d say it’s likely because, once made, the flavor of the cheese intensifies the longer it sits.  The beauty of this recipe is it can be made with whatever cheese leftovers you happen to have on hand.  If you mostly have hard cheeses, add a few pats of good quality butter to increase its spreadability.

Conversely, if you’re left with several soft cheeses simply add a bit less wine to the mix.  What I’ve laid out below is merely a suggestion; add more or less garlic to your liking or, for example, if you really like the flavor of blue cheese, increase its ratio.  Even the type of liquid is flexible, traditionally white wine is used but last time I made it I used champagne.  If you prefer not to use alcohol, room temperature broth would do fine as well.  As for the types of cheeses, seriously use whatever leftover bits you have.  As an example, when I photographed this post I used Pecorino Romano, Aged Emmenthaler, Rumiano Garlic Jack, Truffle Gouda, Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar and a Blue; flavors that on first glance wouldn’t seem to blend well together but they did.  Ohhhh… they sooo did.

No matter what time of year, I usually serve some type of cheese tray at our parties so this recipe gets plenty of play throughout the year.  It also makes a nice hostess gift when packed into a little jar.  Some nicer grocery stores have even began selling cheese remnants which are perfect if you want to make this dish and don’t have a assortment of leftover cheese at home.

A few notes – I prefer this spread room temperature slathered on toasted slices of bread, but a popular way to serve it is to smear it on the bread and then place it under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  If you plan to go this route you may not want to add butter to the mix as it can make the cheese thin and runny when heated.
Blending the herbs in from the start like I do lends the fromage fort a greenish hue – it’s not unappealing but if you prefer a more neutral color, just add the herbs towards the end of blending.
I’ve read that it was customary for the French to make this spread and let it sit in a cold cellar for a week or so to let the flavors intensify.  This suggests it will last several weeks when kept at the proper temperature, but to be on the safe side I try not to keep it much longer than a week or so.  I have not tried freezing it so if you do please leave a comment and let me know how it worked out!

5 from 1 vote
Fromage Fort
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

A classic French recipe for ingeniously turning all those extra bits of cheese sitting in your fridge into a pot of spreadable deliciousness.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: French
Servings: 4
Calories: 293 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound assorted cheeses, chopped or grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons good quality butter, softened
  • Any assortment of fresh herbs including thyme, chives, parsley or marjoram
  • A few turns of fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend again just until combined.

  2. Pack in tightly sealed jars and store in the refrigerator.
Recipe Notes

I prefer this spread room temperature slathered on toasted slices of bread, but a popular way to serve it is to smear it on the bread and then place it under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If you plan to go this route you may not want to add butter to the mix as it can make the cheese thin and runny when heated.
Blending the herbs in from the start like I do lends the fromage fort a greenish hue – it’s not unappealing but if you prefer a more neutral color, just add the herbs towards the end of blending.
I’ve read that it was customary for the French to make this spread and let it sit in a cold cellar for a week or so to let the flavors intensify. This suggests it will last several weeks when kept at the proper temperature, but to be on the safe side I try not to keep it much longer than a week or so. 

 

 

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