Update, November 16: Bon Fromage has sold out of cheese.
In a year of stinky news stories, here's a grate bit of news to cheer us up: Bon Fromage – an annual cheese festival supported by the European Union – is going virtual. The fromage-friendly festival is taking its usual program of masterclasses and demonstrations online, and delivering cheese packs across the country so everyone can join in.
Cheese enthusiasts can choose from four packs: The Classics (French favourites including brie and comté); Blue Lover's (a selection of cow's milk blue cheese from across France); Soft and Creamy (soft cheese ranging in flavour from subtle to strong); and Strong and Stinky (for fans of a punchy, pungent cheese). The packs are free, guests just need to cover the $20 shipping fee.
Each pack has an associated masterclass, which will take participants through the varieties of fromage they have been sent. They will all be led by cheesemonger François Robin, beaming in live from France.
On top of the four core cheese packs and masterclasses, the festival will also include a clutch of "VIP" experiences. Sydney wine retailer the Drink Hive will be sending out French wine and cheese packs ($110), with a walk-through of what you're tasting on November 27 at 7pm. The Simon Johnson selection ($110) includes a range of cheeses, as well as crackers and grapes to enjoy them with and a masterclass on November 28 at 5pm.
There are also curated packs and masterclasses from South Australia's the Smelly Cheese Shop ($120), Melbourne's Maker & Monger ($65) and fromage experts the Studd Siblings ($65), who will be demonstrating how to bake a wheel of Vacherin Le Duc.
Other masterclasses include how to taste French cheese like a pro; the history, craft and terroir of French cheese; and how to cook with the cheeses of France.
Orders must be placed by November 15, and only a limited number of packs are available.