Neufchatel is a soft, crumbly cheese that is very popular all over the world. This French cheese is believed to be one of the oldest cheeses in the world and dates right back to the 6th century. This cheese has the aroma of mushrooms but has a dry, white, wrinkled skin. The dry rind is edible and has the sharpest taste. Neufchatel is normally sold shaped like a heart but you will also find round cylinders and logs.
History of Neufchatel Cheese
Neufchatel is believed to be one of the oldest French cheeses that were made way back in the 6th century. The original version has two varieties: one is a soft unripenend creamy version and the other is a ripened grainy version. Both versions are very popular inside France and they can be used in a variety of dishes. Not much is known about the exact history of the cheese is unknown but it is named after the village in North East France where it was discovered. The term Neufchatel can be slightly confusing as American cheese makers do sell slightly softer versions that is used as cream cheese. French Neufchatel is very much different from the American version and it has a slightly higher fat content than the American version.
Culinary Uses of the Neufchatel Cheese
French Neufchatel is very popular inside France and is commonly used as a topping on breads, rolls and crackers due to its creamy texture. It is also used to coat pancakes, raw veggies and sandwiches as a dip. It can also be used in place of cream cheese as a dessert cheese and for frostings due to its delicate taste and odor. Neufchatel also works very well when it is combined with honey, maple syrup, fruit jellies, sesame sees and lemon juice. American Neufchatal is used as a cream cheese as it’s marketed as a low fat cheese.
Cuisines Using Neufchatel Cheese
The Normandy region of France uses Neufchatel very commonly in their day to day food as a dessert cheese but the cheese is popular in Europe too. In America, the American version of Neufchatal is popular but the French version is available in gourmet cheese shops.
Nutritive Value of Neufchatel Cheese
Neufchatel cheese has a very low moisture content but the fat content varies from 20%-40%. A single serving of 28.3 gms will have 74 calories.
Neufchatel Cheese Buying/Storing Tips
Neufchatel is sold in a variety of shapes like below
- The Bondon which is the oldest version of Neufchatal and shaped like a cylinder
- The Bondard which is a slightly larger cylinder.
- The Gournay looks like a small quoit
- The Coeur De Bray is shaped like a heart and is the youngest variety of the cheese.
The outside of the cheese should be unblemished and creamy in color. Once the packaging is removed, the cheese should be kept wrapped in its original wrapping. Neufchatel should be discarded if there is any mold on the surface.