Fromage Fort

Any variety of cheese may be used to make this pungent spread called fromage fort or strong cheese in French.  It’s ideal to make with all the leftover bits of cheese on hand after a season of entertaining.  We make it to tame inventory in the cheese drawer.  Restaurateurs make it too, often as a house specialty.  (Chef Jacques Chibois served a memorable version made by a local fromager to compliment the aromatic cooking served at his at the Auberge de Saint Antoine in Grasse, France.)

Use this recipe as a road map.  Once you feel comfortable making it, you won’t need a recipe. Using hard cheeses may require more butter and less wine or stock.  Using creamy cheeses may require that you cut back on the additional liquid. Add cream cheese to smooth out the blend. (This is useful if you have mainly hard cheeses in your mix.) The addition of toasted nuts adds another dimension to the spread, especially welcome when using mild cheeses.  But the nuts are totally optional and I don’t often feel the need to use them.