Talking About Cheese – French Story & Translation

Author: Florence

Let’s learn the French cheese vocabulary in the context of a French / English bilingual story taking place in a cheese shop (la fromagerie) in France.

Learn how to talk about French cheese, the different types of French cheese and how to buy cheese in France in this easy and fun story.

How to buy Cheese in France?

There are about 400 cheeses in France today, so you can easily understand the high importance of cheese in the French culture!

In 1962, French President  Charles de Gaules, was famously quoted as saying “Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays qui a deux cent quarante-six variĂ©tĂ©s de fromage?” (“How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?”)

Let’s meet up with Jane for an easy bilingual dialogue at the cheese shop (la fromagerie). Jane is an American woman who is very curious about French cheese. She wants to know everything about cheese and find difficult to make up her mind.

Bilingual French Dialogue At a Cheese Shop

Le fromager :
Bonjour madame. Qu’est-ce qu’il vous faut ?
Hello Madam, what would you like?

Jane :
Bonjour Monsieur. Je suis impressionnĂ©e par tous ces fromages. Il y en a tellement que je ne sais pas trop quoi choisir. Quels types de fromages est-ce que vous avez ?
Hello. I am so impressed by all those cheeses. There are so many that I can’t decide. What sort of cheeses do you have ?

Le fromager :
Les fromages viennent de 3 types d’animaux diffĂ©rents : la chĂšvre, la vache, la brebis. Vous avez le choix entre les fromages Ă  pĂąte molle, Ă  pĂąte dure et Ă©galement les bleus. Cheeses come from one of three sources of animal milk: cow, goat, or sheep. You can also choose between soft cheeses, pressed cheeses and blue cheeses.

Jane :
Merci pour cette explication. J’adore le Camembert, il  appartient Ă  quelle catĂ©gorie ?
Thank you for this information. I love Camembert, to which category does it belongs?

Learn About French Cheese

Le fromager :
Le Camembert comme le Brie de Meaux, sont produits avec du lait de vache. Leur texture est crĂ©meuse et onctueuse et leur pĂąte n’est pas cuite. Leur croĂ»te elle se couvre aprĂšs la fermentation de moisissure, c’est pour ça qu’elle devient blanche.
Camembert just like Brie de Meaux are produced with cow’s milk. Their texture is creamy and smooth. Their rind is cover of mould once the maturation process is finished, that’s why it gets white.

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What Is Hard French Cheese

Jane :
Je vois, c’est intĂ©ressant, j’aime Ă©galement le ComtĂ©. C’est une pĂąte dure n’est-ce pas ?
I see it is interesting. I also like ComtĂ©. It’s a pressed cheese isn’t it ?

Le fromager :
Oui le ComtĂ© comme l’Emmental sont des fromages Ă  pĂąte dure et cuite. Le processus d’affinage peut prendre pour ces fromages entre 6 e 24 mois. Tous sont pratiquement fabriquĂ©s avec le lait de vache.
Yes, ComtĂ© just like Emmental are pressed and cooked cheeses. The maturation process can take for those cheeses between 6 to 24 months. All pressed cheeses are made with cow’s milk.

Jane :
Est-ce que c’est la mĂȘme catĂ©gorie que le Saint-Nectaire ?
Does Saint-Nectaire belongs to the same category?

Le fromager :
Ah non pas exactement. Le Saint-Nectaire comme le Cantal, la Mimolette et l’Ossau-Iraty sont des fromages Ă  pĂąte pressĂ©e non cuite. La durĂ©e d’affinage ne dĂ©passe pas un an. Not exactly. Saint-Nectaire like Cantal and Ossau-Iraty are pressed cheeses but non cooked. The maturation process doesn’t exceed one year.

Jane :
Ah vraiment intĂ©ressant ! J’apprends beaucoup de choses avec vous. Une derniĂšre question avant de me dĂ©cider : j’ai entendu dire que la texture bleue dans le Roquefort est du moisis, c’est bien ça ?
Really interesting, I learn a lot with you !  A last question before deciding : I heard that the blue texture on Roquefort is musty, is it correct?

Why the Blue in Cheese?

Le fromager :
Oui, le Roquefort comme le Bleu de Bresse et la Fourme d’Ambert sont des fromages persillĂ©s. On introduit un champignon dans la pĂąte qui en se dĂ©veloppant forme des moisissures. Mais, rassurez-vous,  elles sont comestibles et mĂȘme dĂ©licieuses !
Yes, Roquefort just like Bleu de Bresse and Fourme d’Ambert are blue cheeses. A fungus is introduced into the dough, which creates a form of mold while growing. But rest assure they are eatable and even delicious!
J’espĂšre que mes rĂ©ponses vous ont aidĂ©e Ă  faire votre choix : qu’est-ce qui vous ferait plaisir aujourd’hui ?
I hope my answers helped you to make a choice: what will be your pleasure today?

paris gourmet french conversation tour
Florence & French student during a one-on-one French conversation gourmet tours in easy French

How To Buy Cheese in France

Jane :
Je vais prendre un morceau de comtĂ© s’il vous plaĂźt.
I will have a piece of Comté please.

Fromager :
Vous voulez lequel ? Nous avons un comtĂ© jeune 12 mois, ou un comtĂ© de 24 mois qui a beaucoup de goĂ»t. Il est fruitĂ©, avec des grains de sel.
Which one would you like? We have a 12 months matured or a 24 months matured comtĂ© which is very tasty. It’s fruity with salt grains.

Client :
Je vais prendre le comté 24 mois .
I will have the 24 months matured Comté

Fromager :
Je vous en mets combien ? Une petite tranche ? Comme ça ?
How much would you like? A thin slice? Like this?

Client :
Un peu moins s’il vous plait.
A bit less please.

Fromager :
Ça va comme ça ?
Is it OK like that?

Client :
Oui. C’est bien.
Yes. It’s good.

Fromager :
Est-ce que vous souhaitez autre chose ?
Would you like something else?

Client :
Oui, je voudrais un fromage de chùvre s’il vous plait
Yes, I would like a goat cheese please.

Fromager :
Vous prĂ©fĂ©rez un chĂšvre frais, entre-deux ou bien sec ?
Do you prefer a fresh goat cheese, in between, or a dry one?

Client :
Je vais prendre un chĂšvre sec. Vous avez des crottins de Chavignol ?
I will have a dry goat cheese. Do you have crottins de Chavignol?

Fromager :
Oui : vous en voulez un seul ?
Yes I do: would you only like one?

Client :
Oui, seulement un. C’est tout pour aujourd’hui. Mais vous allez me revoir bientît !
Only one please. That’s all for today. But you’ll see me again soon!

Fromager :
VoilĂ . Ca fera 7 Euros cinquante.
There you are. It will be seven Euros and fifty cents.

Client :
Merci, bonne journée !
Thank you, have a nice day!

Fromager :
Bonne journée également. Au revoir.
Have a nice day too. Goodbye.

If you are curious about cheeses and everything gourmet, you should try my one-on-one French conversation gourmet tours in easy French. One of my stop is at a cheese cooperative. You not only taste different cheeses with a glass of wine, learn more about the cheese culture and learn useful vocabulary related to one of the strongest basis of French food.

Chapter 11 of French Today’s French audiobook “Une Semaine à Paris” is dedicated to cheese, and you may also enjoy reading Camille’s article about how to cut cheese in France.

Author: Florence


Bonjour à tous ! I am a « Parisienne » with the eyes turned toward abroad. I feel both like a native and an expat. I have a passion for French language as well as an endless curiosity for Paris.

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