Posted by: oliviapontet | December 5, 2012

A little story about cheese and China

The cheese is not the culture of China

Dry or creamy, goat or sheep, from Savoie or Abruzzo: despite its smell and appearance sometimes specific to the uninitiated, the cheese can attract the Chinese already converted to wine. This is certainly the challenge of leading European refiners who were in Hong Kong from 18 to 21 April at the “Hong Kong International Cheese Festival”, an exhibition organized around a market with over 120 quality cheeses.

Refiners have held conferences and “masterclass” on their expertise, the different families of cheese or wine agreement. The French Philippe Marchand, owner with his brother of the famous cheese of the same name in north-eastern France, is presented the Saint Nicolas of Dalmerie product in a monastery in the Herault (South of France) and the farmer Morbier (or Fiouve ) of the Jura.

cheese china

Asia, for him, is a land of conquest, even if the cheese is not a priori a product as easy to “sell” as the “baguette” and champagne. He said that we can find traces of cheese in China (see this article). This is not a purely French product, or Dutch or Italian, no. Cheese is a universal food.

New taste for the cheese

Inspired by Japan, where he exports, Philippe Marchand has created a fresh goat cheese with Wasabi, this strong Japanese condiment used in cooking sushi, is a marriage a priori impossible. Yet. Concerning that he said : “The combination of the two, fresh goat cheese and wasabi, form a balance. First you have the soup, the fresh goat cheese, and a second time, the strength of wasabi,”.

County Doubs, Sardinian Pecorino, Remeker Puur Holland or Barwheys Cheddar Scotland: a cheese market was installed in Hullett House, an old luxury hotel in Hong Kong for the first time, bathed in waves of cream and curd. As for wine, the Chinese have become in a few years large consumers, the idea is to combine the cheese to a certain lifestyle that would attract the middle and upper classes.

Because if cheese is a matter of culture and identity, the Chinese on the subject has little or no references have observed Tricia Bey, Scottish refiner. “We found very very open Asian, and very interested in all kinds of cheeses. Somehow, this is perhaps a more open market for us. Maybe in Europe, where we come, people are more attached to their traditions, and some more cheese they love, “she advance.

But things are changing

Tina Li, a Hong Kong lawyer admits she “took several years to appreciate” cheese. “Because I grew up without ever having eaten. But I’ve tasted in Canada, and I ate a lot when I lived abroad. So today, I love it,” she says.

For Kenny Chen, an insurer “folklore” is at least as important as the cheese itself. “It always reminds me of good memories. I went to a dairy in the Netherlands, Amsterdam. Loved the environment of the factory and the people who told stories.”

European cheese producers dream to China that the winemakers have done: to transform a country that does not know the wine almost ten years ago in one of the largest importers and consumers in the world. China (including Hong Kong) in 2012 was the third out of the French wine market with 842 million euros (80% of Bordeaux), behind the United States and the United Kingdom.

To conclude, there is also initiatives such as online supermarket which can provide you cheese from Europe (click here for more information).



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