France's lockdown vice? Cheese

One way to beat the lockdown blues? More cheese.

That’s the French way, at least, as sales in the country soared by more than 8 percent in 2020 - compared with just 2 percent the year before – with shuttered restaurants leaving French shoppers salivating more than ever for their beloved Brie, Camembert and Roquefort, just to name a few.

Veronique Richez-Lerouge is president of France’s local cheeses association: “The French maintained and even compensated in a way for the lack of sales in restaurants by their high consumption, higher than usual.

For example, we see that for goat cheese, consumption is up by 32%, Camembert is up 2%, Comte is up 8%.” Raclette – a winter favorite served melted with potatoes and meats - jumped 12%.

Even sales of mozzarella – a southern Italian cheese – rose by 21%.

Augusting Denous is owner of a cheese shop in Boulogne-Billancourt, France:

"In our little way, we've helped prevent people being completely gloomy. There was that moment of pleasure at the dinner table with good wine, good bread and good cheese, you forget everything for an hour.”

Cheese has even fared better than another traditional French favorite - champagne - in a year bereft of celebrations.

Nicolas is a cheese shop regular:

"This is typically one of the pleasures we still have access to, with an unimaginable diversity just like with wine. You only need to see the display here, it takes you on a journey."

A broad selection is key – especially with Saturday being France’s National Cheese Day.

Video Transcript

- One way to beat the lockdown blues? More cheese. That's the French way, at least, as sales in the country soared by more than 8% in 2020 compared with just 2% the year before, with shuttered restaurants leaving French shoppers salivating more than ever for their beloved Brie, Camembert, and Roquefort, just to name a few.

Veronique Richez-Lerouge is president of France's Local Cheeses Association.

VERONIQUE RICHEZ-LEROUGE: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

INTERPRETER: The French maintained and even compensated in a way for the lack of sales in restaurants by their high consumption, higher than usual. For example, we see that for goat cheese, consumption is up by 32%. Camembert is up 2%. Comte is up 8%.

- Raclette, a winter favorite served melted with potatoes and meats, jumped 12%. Even sales of mozzarella, a southern Italian cheese, rose by 21%. Augustin Denous is owner of a cheese shop in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

AUGUSTIN DENOUS: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

INTERPRETER: In our little way, we've helped prevent people from being completely gloomy. There's that moment of pleasure at the dinner table with good wine, good bread, and good cheese, when you forget everything for an hour.

- Cheese has even fared better than another traditional French favorite, champagne, in a year bereft of celebrations. Nicolas is a cheese shop regular.

- [SPEAKING FRENCH]

INTERPRETER: This is typically one of the pleasures we still have access to, with an unimaginable diversity just like wine. You only need to see the display here. It takes you on a journey.

- A broad selection is key, especially with Saturday being France's National Cheese Day.