French Raise a Stink About Cheese List
Now you got ’em ticked off. In a list published this month, a site called TasteAtlas, which bills itself as “a world atlas of traditional dishes, local ingredients, and authentic restaurants,” created a list of the 100 best cheeses in the world.
Le Parisien quickly sent out a newsletter calling the list “disastrous.” I’m not quite sure what happened, but some of the outrages the newspaper specifies are not exactly correct (that Camembert is not on the list, the names of the first four cheeses on the list), but the upshot is the same: The French feel they’ve been short-shrifted. Indeed, the first four cheeses on the list are Italian (parmesan, burrata, stracchino di crescenza, and mozzarella di bufala campana). The only French cheese in the top 10 is the triple-cream Saint-André. Even a Portuguese cheese bests the best-rated French cheese.
However, numerous French media complained that not one even French cheese made it into the top 10, so one can only surmise that TasteAtlas, an online travel guide started by a Croatian journalist, may have second-guessed itself and made some revisions. Whatever the case, Camembert is now safely on the list but at an insulting number 87.
French snits are at their snittiest when French culture is not accorded its deserved place at the top of every list. “The disastrous list proves that Italians are more gifted than us in promoting their treasures,” Le Parisien intones. “What is true for cheese will soon also be true for wine, for our charcuterie, and for all our specialities … which are objectively the best in the world!” The lesson is that French food professionals must “reconquer the world’s taste.” Napoleon couldn’t have said it better.