Chinese cheese, who knew?

An artisanal cheesery on the outskirts of Beijing delivers French cheese with Chinese characteristics.

Sue Pischke/Herald-Times Reporter/AP
A familiar site in France, maybe, but far less common in China.
Chinese French cheese maker Liu Yang.

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

 Moving from Paris to Beijing had one major downside for me – I had to go cold turkey on cheese.

 No longer. I have discovered Liu Yang, aka Le Fromager de Pekin, who has set up an artisanal cheesery on the outskirts of the Chinese capital and produces some remarkably authentic renditions of French cheese, with Chinese characteristics.

 Mr. Liu discovered cheese 10 years ago in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand, where he went to study management. He loved it from the start. Later, Liu moved to Corsica, the home of goat and sheep’s milk cheeses, which convinced him to drop international trade and learn cheesemaking instead.

 When he returned home in 2007 he began trying to make the stuff.

 It didn’t work at first. Not only is Chinese milk different from French milk, but Beijing’s humid climate made things challenging.

 Experimentation bore fruit, though, and now Liu makes a “Beijing Grey” reminiscent of Camembert and a splendid, subtle “Valencay”-style pyramid with a hint of goat, creamy on the outside and crumbly inside, as part of his range.

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