Traditional French cheese is apparently as much about scantily-clad young women as it is about camembert, roquefort and brie.
New figures show raw-milk cheeses from rural France, which until the Second World War accounted for nearly all consumption, now make up just seven per cent of those eaten.
The Association Fromages de Terroirs (AFT), which aims to protect France’s traditional cheese culture, is now trying to fight back with a series of posters of “Fromgirls”, displaying women working in the industry.
Veronique Richez-Lerouge, of the AFT, said,
“The French have forgotten what real cheese is like. Buying cheese has become like buying a box of washing powder.”
Globalisation and safety regulations introduced by the European Union have played a part. Pasteurisation – the germ killing process – has helped wipe out many raw-milk cheeses. Workers are also eating more quick snacks at lunchtime, rather than sitting down to meals in traditional restaurants, whose cheese trolleys helped to forge the French national identity.