Once sampled it is never forgotten. The cheese trolley at La Villa is a joy to behold for turophiles in Ho Chi Minh City. La Villa have spent a long time and a lot of love developing this gastronomic delight. The trolley has 20 permanent residents to delight the palate and more visit on occasion. Working in conjunction with importers Classic Fine Foods, they have arrived at what must be the best cheese trolley in Ho Chi Minh City.
Chef Thierry and his wife Tina have created the trolley after years of enjoying the very best that France has to offer. As with everything else at La Villa, they preserve the true essence of traditional French fine dining cuisine.
In true French style, the cheese is always accompanied by bread, and not crackers. However, as is always the case with La Villa, the bread is quite special. All bread products at this fine dining restaurant are baked fresh daily on the premises to provide a balanced accompaniment to the cheese. The standard options available are: classic provincial style fougasse; olive bread; onion bread; raisin bread, always exceptional with cheese; baguettes; and delicious sesame seed breadsticks.
The cheeses represent some of the true classics of French cuisine. They provide something for every palate, whether you prefer cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s cheese, soft or hard, strong blue or subtle white, they are all here. Here are some of the excellent French cheeses that you’ll find at La Villa.
Bleu d’Auvergne (Auvergne)
Developed in the 1850s by French cheesemaker Antoine Roussel, this cheese uses rye bread mould to create the veining and is pricked with a needle to increase aeration. This technique has spread throughout the region. It has a strong pungent taste, though less so than many other blue cheeses.
A beautiful cylindrical cheese with a soft central core. It has a creamy colour, and is slightly crumbly, with a white rind. The taste is slightly bitter and it is less pungent than Époisses, its Bourgogne competition.
Époisses (Basque Country)
A pungent soft cheese. The rind is washed in brine and a local brandy called Marc de Bourgogne. It is a circular cheese with a distinctive soft red-orange colour. It arrives in a wooden box and can almost be served with a spoon, it is so soft.
Produced in a geographical area corresponding to part of the former Dauphiné province, this cheese is small in size. It has a mottled creamy-white surface. As the cheese ages so does the runniness, whilst the rind gains blue, then yellow colours within two to three weeks of production.
A soft, white, pungent and uncooked cheese made from unpasteurised goat’s milk, it comes wrapped in chestnut leaves and tied with raffia. Banon is aged for at least two weeks. As it ages, the cheese develops blue and grey moulds on and under the leaves, creating a stronger and more intense flavour.
Valençay (Central France)
From the province of Berry, this cheese is pyramidal shaped and is made from unpasteurised goat’s milk. Blue-grey in colour from the natural moulds that form, its rind is darkened by dusting with charcoal. When young the cheese has a fresh, citrus taste, and develops the usual characteristics of goat’s cheese as it ages.
Ossau Iraty (Northern Basque)
This comes from the Ossau Valley in Béarn and the Irati Forest in the Basque Country, hence its name. It is one of only two cheeses to gain appellation d’origine contrôlée status (the other being, of course, Roquefort). It has an orange to grey crust and a white to pale yellow creamy yet firm interior.
From the Basque region of the Pyrénées, this uses six gallons of pasteurised sheep’s milk to make a single wheel. It has a bumpy rind as the mould is formed during pressing. The smooth, velvety interior is consistently white and has occasional holes or slits. The aroma is sweet and earthy.
To create the perfect foil for the cheese, La Villa also has a lovely array of accompaniments. Preserves of custard apple, strawberry, pineapple and ginger, together with dried figs and fresh grapes, and various nuts are presented alongside the cheeses. This trolley has been exceptionally well thought out and is the perfect addition to any fine dining experience.
Whatever your choice of style or whatever your mood, you are sure to find the perfect French cheese having enjoyed your mains at La Villa. Happy eating!