The 4 Types Of Cheese Jacques Pépin Always Has In His Fridge

A well-stocked fridge should have some key ingredients, such as eggs, milk, and butter, but for Jacques Pépin, there must also be a few different types of cheese. The acclaimed chef told Bon Appétit he keeps four specific kinds of cheese on hand — Gruyère, blue, Parmesan, and a soft cheese like Camembert — with each serving a unique role.

Originating in Switzerland, Gruyère has a nutty taste and is rich and salty, which Pepin feels is perfect for omelets, soufflés, and gratin. Meanwhile, he tosses crumbly blue cheese, known for its strong, funky flavor, into salads. Earthy, soft French Camembert is best when he is looking for something to serve with crackers. And as for hard, salty Parmesan, Pépin keeps it classic and uses this Italian cheese to top pasta.

Should the chef end up with odds and ends of his four essential kinds of cheese (or any others) that are too small to use on their own or about to go bad, he is likely to transform them into fromage fort.

Repurpose bits of cheese into spread

With a limited shelf life, a cheese-lover struggles from time to time with eating their carefully selected fromage before it starts to get unwanted mold. That's where a fromage fort, or strong cheese, becomes the perfect vehicle to transform those different kinds of cheeses into a delicious dish, suitable for a romantic picnic for two or to share at a party with friends. 

As Pépin revealed to Food & Wine, his father made a traditional fromage fort with an assortment of cheeses, wine, broth, and seasonings and left it to ferment for about a week for his pungent cheese spread. But at the prompting of his wife, Pépin modernized the recipe, blending odds and ends of cheeses in a food processor with wine and seasonings to make a ready-to-eat spread. Typically, fromage fort is served smeared on a cracker or a crostini, but a small portion can also be placed on top of a steak or vegetables for some bonus cheesy flavor. 

If you decide to replicate Pépin's refrigerator by keeping his four essential cheeses stocked, don't worry about eating them all before they expire because you have a tasty trick up your sleeve to enjoy them.