fromage fort

I think we should all go to a party. And we should all eat this. I know, it doesn’t look like much. I am sure you’ve seen cheese spread on a slice of baguette before. It probably looked prettier than this too; less blue, more smooth. But please, lean in anyway, because I have to tell you: this is brilliant. And I can’t believe I’ve gone most of my life without knowing about it. Don’t let it happen to you.

odds and ends of cheese, wine, yes
grate the harder stuff

You know that thing that happens when you have friends over? No, I don’t mean the Santa Baby sing-along or red-wine-on-the-white-sofa thing or the ow-my-head-hurts thing the next day, though all of those are grand too. What I mean is, what we usually do is stop by a cheese store or counter and pick up a bunch of wedges of this and that and put them out with wine and bread and at the end of the night, there’s always one sorry little glass left of wine left and a few nubs of cheese. Maybe they end up in the trash. They shouldn’t. And they won’t anymore because let me introduce you to (drumroll, Oprah voice, please)… fromage fort!

four cheese happy place

about to blend

Translated as “strong cheese,” it’s a delightfully economical blend of whatever odds and ends of cheese you have around, some wine, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs, if you’re feeling it. Softer cheeses make it creamier. Harder cheeses can benefit from a pat of butter. You can use it right away or “age” it a little more, up to a week is safest. For a treat, you can run your slice of bread spread with the fromage fort under the broiler. If it’s on the softer side, dip things like grissini or other seedy breadsticks in it. But beyond that, there are no rules. There are few recipes, just outlines. But the main thing, the salient bit, is that you just wing it.

fromage fort: no two versions alike!

Fromage fort is forgiving. It accepts all kinds — your tired old gruyere scraps, your poor white wine choices, your huddled masses of brie, yearning to breathe free (I’m so sorry, America.), and blends them together into something infinitely greater than its parts. Plus, there’s always a little snowflake specialness to it, as no two batches will ever be exactly alike. In a year of carefully arranged, slightly obsessive, many component-ed, over-the-top and personal Mount Everests of recipes, this is the most fitting way to usher the year out.

fromage fort

One year ago: Parsnip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill, Cinnamon Brown Butter Breakfast Puffs and Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze
Two years ago: Crescent Jam and Cheese Cookies and Milk Punch (or, my nomination for the ideal cocktail embodiment of the dreaded “wintry mix”)
Three years ago: Creamed Mushrooms on Butter-Chive Toast, Ridiculously Easy Butterscotch Sauce, Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Artichokes, How to Host Brunch (and Still Sleep In), Spinach and Cheese Strata, Pear Bread and Parmesan Cheese Crackers
Four years ago: Mushroom and Barley Pie, The Great Unshrinkable Sweet Tart Shell, Cranberry Pecan Frangipane Tart, Mustard Roasted Potatoes, Walnut Tartlets, Cauliflower Gratin, All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough, Pumpkin Cupcakes, Cabbage Apple and Walnut Salad and Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust
Five years ago: Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies, My Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies, Austrian Raspberry Shortbread, A Slice-and-Bake Cookie Pallette and Robert Linxe’s Chocolate Truffles
Six years ago: Wild Mushroom Pirogis, Blondies, Infinitely Adaptable, Fettucine with Porcini, German Pancakes, Winter Panzanella, Chicken Skewers with Dukkah Crust and Pecan Squares

Fromage Fort

As I mention above, there are no rules as to how you put this together. Maybe you want more wine, or less. Maybe you want a heavy hand with salt and pepper, or you want the natural flavors of the cheese to shine through. If you’re using a lot of hard cheeses, a pat or two of butter will help smooth things out. Personally, I go easy on the garlic (one tiny clove) because it really blooms as the cheese sits, and I don’t want it to take over, but maybe you would like that. The only thing I think it important to keep in mind is that even a small amount of blue cheese tends to dominate. I used 25% of the weight in blue, and the result was essentially a blue cheese spread. Fortunately, we love them. But if that’s not your thing, limit it to just a small spoonful or a few crumbles.

If you’re curious, my formula this time was one part each of blue, brie, goat cheese and gruyere, a handful of chives and a full cup of wine.

1 pound mix leftover cheese, harder cheeses grated, softer ones cut into chunks
A couple pats of butter, if using mostly firm cheese varieties
1 small clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
1/2 to 1 cup leftover white wine
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary or chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blend cheese, butter (if using) and garlic in food processer until combined. Drizzle in wine with the motor running until you get your desired consistency — some like it completely smooth, others prefer chunks. Add herbs, pulsing the machine until just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fromage fort can be used right away, or kept in the fridge until needed. In the fridge, it will thicken and age a little; the flavors will mingle and deepen.

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262 comments on fromage fort

  1. This is exactly what I needed! I have little bits and pieces of cheese leftover from our first-ever Christmas Eve dinner and this will be the perfect use of them all. It’s like you read my mind or something. Thanks Deb!

  2. Rachel M

    This looks so wonderful. I can’t wait to pull it together tomorrow night for our NYE celebration. :)

    Wasn’t able to make it to your book tour signing, but I was lucky enough to get a copy anyway. Best of luck in the New Year, and hope it’s as fantastic as this year has turned out to be.

    1. deb

      Elizabeth — There’s no reason you can’t eat most cheese rinds, but they may not blend well. (I’m talking about hard rinds, btw, and not brie or soft rinds, which are fine.)

  3. Erin

    Way to change my life! I just made a list this morning of cheeses to pick up for our NYE party, and here you come transcending the idea of a cheese plate. I am now way more excited for New Year’s Day than New Year’s Eve. College bowl games and fromage fort nibbling, here I come!

  4. Deanna

    I’ve heard about this for years but never made it. I have tons of cheese scraps though, and one more party to go to. Leave it to the French to come up with the perfect use for leftover cheese.

  5. Sherry

    Once again your brilliance is blinding! It was great to meet you at the UW in Seattle! Your book has not let me down once! It has been my total “go to” since Halloween! Happy New Year to you and yours Deb! Many Thanks!

  6. Ashley

    Is there a proper substitute I can use for the wine? We don’t typically use wine in our house. Maybe some kind of vinegar or even chicken stock? Thanks, I LOVE this idea!

  7. BRILLIANT. I was just cleaning out my refrigerator and freezer yesterday, wondering what on earth I was going to use the tiny amounts of a gazillion cheeses we have around. I can’t WAIT to try this and see how mine turns out! THANKS for the inspiration!!

  8. Kate

    I had an excess of leftover cheese this year. The first pound went to fondue, which is darn near the same recipe except hot. I think the second pound will go to this recipe, especially since wehave an excess of crackers too . Thanks!

  9. Lauren

    How forward-thinking and “green” of you! Not a bit of waste from the expensive purchases of last week. Love the idea of being able to have Wine and Cheese in a completely transformed state. I have been doing leftover-cheese omelets for years, but this is WAY more interesting, since I have always left the wine out of the omelets;)!!

  10. Anna K.

    Ashley, I was thinking the same thing since we don’t drink but I HAVE to try this recipe with the leftover Christmas Eve cheese. I was thinking of using homemade veg stock (since I also don’t eat meat…I know, I’m boring!) with a splash of wine vinegar and some extra herbs for flavor. I’ll probably use a bit of shallot instead of garlic since I have that lying around too. Now to see about a bread that is worthy of this treatment…

  11. Brenda in Irving

    This sounds like my kind of cooking! Throwing all the leftovers in the fridge together to make something stupendous. Most of meals are served afer I inform the family that we’ll never have it again because we’ll never have the same assortment of leftovers again! Never thought of doing it with JUST cheese. Thanks Deb.

  12. This could not have come at a better time. Every year, my father-in-law gifts us with an array of delicious cheeses. Despite my love for cheese, it’s always just a tad too much for the two of us. Now I can make a delicious blend for the guests we are having over on New Year’s Eve instead of my go to cheese plate. Thank you! :)

  13. Mels

    Long-time reader, and fan of your blog and incredible recipes. Thank you for another wonderful year of information and laughter. I have so many of your recipes bookmarked that I’m starting to think I need a better way to keep track! And the cookbook! I can’t wait to buy the cookbook!! Happy New Year!!

  14. Cate

    I’m just going to say… I saw the word fromage, realized what this would be… and sighed dreamily. …. You have no idea how much triple cream soft ripened cheese I consumed over the holidays.

    I should be sick of it. But I’m not!

  15. Dana

    Forget having a party – we always have cheesy bits in our frig. This is positively BRILLIANT! I can’t wait to give it go!
    Happy 2013 to you!

    1. deb

      Wine substitutions — I am not sure there is as this is mostly a blend of cheese and wine. There’s no reason, of course, you can’t fiddle — it might be good with a little creme fraiche and small spoonful of good wine vinegar spilled in. I’m sure there are other things that might taste good blended with cheese. It won’t taste like fromage fort though.

  16. Nancy

    I’d always known this recipe as Jacques and Gloria Pepin’s. So Morgane, perhaps it isn’t total sacrilege! I’ve made it with as many as 7 assorted odds and ends, including chèvre with green peppercorns and nutmeg, Gorgonzola, capriano, asiago, provolone, jarls burg and supermarket sharp cheddar. It was wonderful with no flavor dominating.

  17. jen

    this is brilliant! You’re a genius!! I was just hemming and hawing over what to do with the leftover wine and cheese from Christmas Eve!!

  18. Anna

    This looks delish! One question though: Is there any way you can make it without the wine? I have some little ones that love cheese, and I’m sure they’d like this, but no wine for them! Thanks for another fabulous recipe!

  19. AMN

    love this so very much. never heard of it before. As far as I’m concerned this is fancy food I will serve guests… Also have very much loved the cookbook – I’ve made a number of things and then sat at dinner telling everyone how much I like the dinner I just made :)

  20. To quote my exact words when reading this recipe ‘oh my god that sounds delicious’. I will now buy a bunch of different cheesesn purpose so I can have leftovers and make this.

  21. Emma

    This is so simple and brilliant! Eating it right now on crackers… after eating it 5 minutes ago on my chicken sandwich… mmmm. Thanks Deb!

  22. Clavis

    Wonder if red wine would work…it certainly tastes fine with cheese, so I’m guessing it would just make this spread rather pinkish but still tasty.

  23. Kristi

    Perfect post to get right before my afternoon snack. I made it using our holiday leftovers (chevre, blue, stilton), and it was perfect! I was worried since it was a cranberry stilton, but the wine, garlic, and fresh rosemary blended and masked to perfection.

  24. Fromage fort, where have you been all my life! If this doesn’t convince me that 2013 is going to be a wicked good year with this magicalness in my recipe box, then nothing will.

  25. mizizzle

    I have never ever had a problem finishing off delightful cheese odds and ends but this looks magnificent! Probably means I should entertain more and cut back on noshing on leftover goodness alone in my kitchen — a must try!

  26. Great idea. I always get the ‘managers special’ cheese that’s on clearance and about to expire. I hardly ever use it all, so this would be a great way to use up all the cheese at once! Or maybe I should just eat less cheese!

  27. I never met a cheese I didn’t like…and any and all cheese blended up with wine and herbs is pretty much…all I need to be super happy. Great idea to use up odds and ends, you know, all that lingering wine and cheese (that I don’t have…LOL!)

  28. Katie

    can a fromage be frozen? we did a wine, cheese and charcuterie with crackers and bread on Christmas Eve and have a wealth of leftover cheese.

  29. Fromage Fort, yum. The English version is Pub Cheese, cheddars with other cheese odds and ends, cream cheese or butter, dollop horseradish sauce, dash worcester, dab of dijon and gulp of beer/ale. If you have a penchant for the wiz kind of cheese, leave out the beer and horseradish. Both fromage and pub make a mighty fine grilled cheese sandwich. Now I’m hungry.

    1. deb

      Tammra — That sounds SO AMAZING. You had me at horseradish sauce.

      jen — Maybe purplish brown, but no, I think it could work. In the end, you have to like the taste so try a spoonful of it and then more as you see fit, if you like where it’s going.

  30. Diane from Boston

    For nonalcoholic ( my husband doesn’t drink) try substituting a generous glop of plain Greek yogurt and maybe some cream cheese to add body. Chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, garlic, and you are good to go! This freezes well.

  31. Janet

    Now that I know to serve fromage fort as my appetizer for 4 on New Year’s Eve (thanks!), is there anything I should know before making the SK Mushroom Bourguignon for my vegetarian guests? I’ve never made it, but I heard someone on NPR who fed the masses with it after Sandy and became determined to try it soon. Happy New Year!

  32. karen on the coast

    Ok, ok OK!!! Uncle!! You finally got me — I HAVE to de-lurk now after three plus years of lurking behind your awesome blog. You got me because this is what we
    would have on the table at times after dinner, at times for lunch, sometimes with cold cuts, always with some beer or wine (or both), and always at the Christmas season. What got me, or got to me, is sight of the cream cheese/chive combination sitting on the cutting board. Exactly how we’d have it sitting either at the centre of the table for a party, or instead of plates at our place setting with immediate family. ARRGH!! You took me home, when I’m not anywhere near there this year!!
    My voice echoes what so many have said of your site, your cookbook, your work, your family (esp Jacob, of course!), your heart and devotion. With your heart you are touching the world, one by one.
    PS: at times when making frommage fort, we add capers and paprika for that
    Hungarian/Austrian thing called Liptauer (I ALMOST delurked when you put THAT
    recipe up!)
    Greetings from Vancouver, hope you have fond memories of your tour stop here!

  33. marybmoss

    Sorry that I’m the queen of non sequiturs of late, BUT… Deb, can you tell me where my family of 7 should eat down in the east village tomorrow night? All adventurous eaters, and are gourmands. Basically where would you-yourself go, if you had one day to have a great food adventure?
    I love your taste, so i think I’m gonna like whatever you suggest….
    On that note- we made Mustard Milanese With Arugala Fennel Salad tonight! It was SO AMAZING. You never fail me.

  34. Strega_Rossa

    A pat of butter… perhaps a drizzle of olive oil instead unless we’re looking for the butter to bind the concoction?

    Using this to make grilled cheese sandwiches sounds very yummy.

  35. Sally

    Something I’ve done for years when there is time enough before the party: a blend of equal parts unsalted butter and blue cheese, stuffed into mushroom caps and served raw. The cook better have his/hers in the kitchen; turn your back and they’re gone! Leftover cheese mixture is good for a few days, especially on your hamburger, but after that it’s too “blue.”

    I think I got the idea from a Gourmet Menu Cookbook back in the 1960s.

  36. karen

    my mouth is watering right now!!! I have parm. reg., swiss, cheddar, and mozarella, basil, sage, and some soave. I’m SO THERE, with tons of pepper. YUMMMMMMM

  37. David

    The statue of liberty was a gift from the people of France to America making your declaration of freedom more appropriate if anything.

    Also, thank you for this years upcoming New Years finger food.

  38. I don’t know why but this post made me giggle so much. I have all sorts of leftover cheese left to get mouldy in some forsaken corner of my fridge. This is clever.

  39. Sarahb1313

    Thanks for the reminder of a great post party plan. And ‘know what my holiday gift was? One awesome cookbook! Looking forward to digging in to all the fab recipes!

  40. Oh my, this looks amazing. Slight problem: there is rarely leftover cheese in my house because I am a cheese-aholic. I have been known to have brie for breakfast…. But if it ever should happen, now I know what to do with it. I got your book for Christmas, Deb. I cannot wait to have a free evening so I can curl up with a glass of wine and savour it. Have a fabulous New Year!

  41. Deenso

    I’m so glad you posted this, Deb! I copied Jacques Pepin’s recipe for this out of the New York Times in 1989 and made it a few times, then forgot all about it. Now’s the perfect time for you to have reminded me. The only difference I can find is that he used significantly more garlic in his version – and that’s just a matter of personal taste, I should think. I have a feeling I’ll wind up preferring the subtlety of yours.
    Happy New Year!

  42. Whitney

    Great idea for leftover cheese and it tastes good too. The only thing I do differently is to mince the garlic and put it in a small dish with some olive oil and then I microwave it for about 15-20 seconds which heats up the oil which takes away the harshness of raw garlic.

  43. CristinM

    Deb – just wanted to tell you that this looks great – and SO EASY after heavy cooking last week. Also wanted to let you know that I’ve been a fan of your blog for just over three years – found you with the “Chocolate whiskey and beer cupcakes”…kind of sad that THAT is the recipe I found first…anyway…I cooked a meal for my in-laws for the first time this past week. After 5 years we were able to lure them to WA State, away from the grandchildren for Christmas. I did the Cinnamon Toast French Toast for Christmas breakfast (huge hit!) and then the Wild Rice, Kale and Onion Gratin and Marbled Pumpkin Gingersnap Tart to accompany a beef roast for dinner. All were a huge success and I can’t wait to continue cooking through your book! Every recipe of yours that I cook comes out perfectly – not a testament to skill of mine but to your thoughtful recipes, instructions and trials and errors! Congrats on the success of the book – look forward to other treats from the blog!

  44. Nancy D

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this in the previous 100+ comments (you go, Deb!), but save the rinds to throw into soups or stews for a luscious, deep, rich addition. Freeze them until soup day if you need to! Thanks for all your awesome recipes, Smitten.

  45. Sedera

    Deb – – Just wanted to say that I love your cookbook. It was by far my most treasured Christmas gift this year and my family has been the happy recipients of several yummy dishes already! My three year old adores the latkes, the spaghetti squash tacos were a hit with my mom and my husband has known for years that any recipe coming from Smitten Kitchen is bound to be delicious. Thanks for inspiring me to cook for my family.

  46. Ann

    Thank you so much! I love cheese and I’m continually/reluctantly throwing out those ends and bits – I can’t wait to do this! I must say, for the past year or so, I’ve noticed that Whole Foods was selling this wonderful [frommage fort] concoction in their cheese section. When I asked them what was in there, they just shrugged and said …”oh, just this and that”. I always bought it when I saw it, and now I can make my own!!

  47. Sarah

    Now why havent I thought of this before?
    Is the wine very strong, would milk be a good substitute…

    What are your thoughts on putting the skin of the brie and camembert in? I am a bit squeemish about eating them but I guess in this recipe it just amalgamates?

  48. Donna

    Here in the Haute-Savoie..we would call this a riff on fondue!!…With the vin blanc sec and the wonderful cheese “restes”…this is an easy-peasy-cheesy economical, yet palate-appeasing offering for apèro….Merci bien.

  49. Shirley

    You did it again with this recipe!! I always seem to have leftover cheese scraps. I sometimes make mac and cheese, to mixed results. Thank you again and a happy and healthy new year.

  50. narf7

    I noticed this post and HAD to check it out…I had visions of an amazing fortress made entirely of cheese…what a buzz! Although I have to admit I was a little disappointed at first at the lack of cheesy walls and turrets made of Tilsit I was swept up with the frugality of this spread and the eminent satisfaction that this delicious spread is going to bring to my kitchen…maybe I can use it to cement together my own personal cheese fortress? Whatever I do with it…it will be appreciated on it’s own merits :)

  51. Mariann

    Oh Deb, you are Genius! Oldest Darling Daughter (who also thinks you are wonderful) said, “she posted a recipe about that?” I said, “well, yes, it doesn’t really need a recipe but I would not have thought to do it….” So thank you- always random cheese bits knocking about my refrigerator.

  52. I’m with #96 Lila — “What leftover cheese??” LOL! But this is enough to make me engineer some…like maybe by hiding a bit in the cabinet or cutting ends off before serving and stashing them somewhere…

    (Also: bought your cookbook today — gorgeous, and it really does stay open on the countertop, just as advertised!)

  53. Ada

    I swear you’re psychic. I just had a huge holiday wine-tasting party and I have lots of half-finished bottles of wine and bits of cheese left over. This is perfect! :)

  54. LJ

    This looks incredible!! How long do you think the fromage fort will last? I live alone and often end up with bits and pieces – but it may mean I will have this in the fridge for a little while, and I am a little wary of spoiled food!

  55. Jean

    I learned about fromage forte from Matt Bites a few years ago…BRILLIANT!!! We are addicted – in a good way. Each one is so individually delicious!

  56. Anyone else out there just tempted to take what they have and even go out and add just to make it as wonderful and “Deb’s?” he he yep I think I am. Happy New Year!

  57. What a great technique! I constantly have bits and pieces of various cheeses in my cheese drawer and this is perfect for them! I think I saw a similar recipe on an early “Good Eats” episode from Alton Brown.

  58. Sophie

    I will definitely be doing this very soon! And i loved the Oprah bit in the blurb because I of course re-read it out loud in my best Oprah voice! Love it!

  59. i’ve been doing this for years! i was reading a small magazine in a doctor’s office, i think it was yankee….anyway he had a little recipe for using leftover cheeses. i cook for an executive dining room of 25 or so and always have pieces of cheese left over. i simply throw them into a robo and add garlic and wine and a shot of cream and there you go. i keep the crock in my reach in and use it through out the week. it makes a killer mac and cheese added to a white sauce or as a base for a baked crostini as you said. very nice. i like your site very much btw. wonderfully written and always interesting. thanks.

  60. I’m a cheese fiend and I love cheese spreads and dips but I’ve never heard of this one. Thanks, Deb!
    Have a happy, healthy and creative New Year! All the best to you and your adorable family!

  61. Jacey

    This recipe is genius. And so is your cookbook! I received it as a Christmas gift and have been poring over it ever since. Thank you for creating such delicious, accessible recipes!

  62. MC

    Hey Deb- my husband got me your new cookbook for Christmas & I just put together my first recipe. After 5 days of Carribean food (heavy on tasty, light on veggies) the kale gratin was screaming my name. I took the liberty to use part sherry/ part chicken broth & add some chia seeds to the topping. With a little luck the family will just think they are poppy seeds. : ) The cookbook is beautiful & there are at least 10 pages already earmarked for future dinners. Well done!

  63. Elizabeth

    I make this all the time, using Alton Brown’s recipe as a starting point.

    Because we are a small family, I often take mine to work or freeze half (minus the herbs). It keeps well for several months. I also toss cheese scraps into the freezer if I don’t have enough to make a batch right then. Just remove any mangy bits and cut it up into the right sizes first.

    Jacques Pepin’s father made his version with wine and leek broth.I’d never skip the wine but if it’s not your thing, you could poach a leek and use the resulting liquid.

    We find a little blue cheese goes a long way but if I use it, I’m known to toast some pecans and mix them in for an extra fancy version.

    I don’t have a food processor, just a Cuisinart mini chopper so I split the cheese in half and process away.

  64. Dear Deb,
    this sounds just wonderful! Thank you. It reminds me a small bit of the southern german “obazda”. Maybe that would be something for you to try, too?
    Very warm greetings from northern germany and a big thank you for your wonderful blog!

  65. HeatherTC

    Brilliant!! I can’t wait to make this! I can already tell it will be a huge hit. :)

    And I was so excited to find your book under my Christmas tree from my hubby! Thanks for all your inspiration!

  66. Susan

    YUM!! Just wanted to let you know I asked for your new cookbook for Christmas and got it from my daughter. I’m so excited to try the recipes. Thanks for sharing on your blog too!

  67. Laura

    Pure genius! I just used up almost every orphaned cheese left in my fridge including: mix of manchego, brie, edam, raclette, jack, and mixed it all with some day old proseco, and it is divine. I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to try it; but I am sure it will get even better overnight.

  68. That is really a great recipe as well as a tasty way to recycle even though on my side I always try to finish every bit of cheese and then looking for more bread. Then when the cheese is done and I have bread left over, I am looking for more cheese. A never ending story!

  69. AT

    For those looking for substitute ingredients for the wine, you can use apple juice. i know a cheese maker who uses apple juice in his spreads…delicious!

  70. Lucy from Singapore

    Just want to say that I’ve been reading your blog for three years or so, ever since my daughter first told me about it. Today she and I went to Books Kinokuniya at Orchard Road, not really expecting to see your book, but there it was! Of course we bought two copies immediately. Thank you for wonderful posts and recipes all these years. Happy new year! :)

  71. Mary

    just whizzed up some leftover cheddar, blue, and asiago with half a clove of garlic, tbs of butter, and big slosh of boxed white wine. delicious right out of the food processor, so i can only imagine how it will taste tonight with good bubbly and french bread. my husband reminded me that i’ve made this before, but it must have been a while ago, because i don’t remember at all. thanks for reintroducing it!

  72. Janice

    I’ve seen Jacques Pepin do this and if that’s not good enough endorsement, what is?! I got your cookbook for Christmas, Deb, and have already made the black beans. Can’t wait to make the rest!

  73. Anna

    Deb, I got your book and its amazing! Made the cauliflower pesto and the gooey cinnamon bars already, and yum. It’s funny though, I had a question halfway through the cinnamon bars and was legitimately bummed that I couldn’t ask you about it. Anyway, they were both delicious, but I’m so happy you’re keeping up the blog too! (And, re: cinnamon bars: once baked, I couldn’t really spot a difference between the soft cookie layer and the gooey layer. Could you? Perhaps I was a little heavy handed on the flour in the middle. Anyway, out of control delicious regardless!) congrats again on the book — it’s perfect.

    1. deb

      Anna — Glad you’re enjoying the book. Feel free to ask questions here or email them to me. If a question is frequently asked and I know a few words from me will make the recipe easier, it will end up on this page. As for the squares, yes, they do merge in texture a bit, but I loved that about them. They should be gooier on top and more cookie-like on the bottom, though. I hope you liked them.

  74. I really like cheese, I am a big fan of cheese. I’ll surely try your recipie. I’ll skip wine to put in it. Can u please suggest me instead of wine can I add something else? Thankyou for the recipie. It looks amazing and in taste for sure.

  75. Barbara Macdonald

    I’ve been making a “Stilton Pate” for years – put all of the following into a food processor – a wedge of stilton, a package of cream cheese, a bunch of old/extra old cheddar – shredded first – whir this all up, add a splash of Worscetshire (sp?) sauce, maybe a table spoon or two of brandy, possibly some butter or splash of whipping cream if mixture is “too thick” and voila. This also freezes well since it makes quite a bit.

    Now you have given me some new ideas to make a variation of this.

  76. I usually use all the bits and pieces of cheese in macaroni and cheese. I may have to try this sometime (that is if I can convince my family – that is how good the mac and cheese is :) )

  77. Amy

    Love, Love, Love it! Thank you for enlightening. So simple yet so inspired! From now on, I vow that my cheese scraps shall be used instead of wasted and I am ever so pleased. Thank you!!

  78. Ah, this is brilliant! I *always* have cheese nubs left after entertaining over the holidays. I use the rinds in soup — but what about those scrappy flesh bits that could be good with just a little luv? Luv in white wine form, apparently. Thanks Deb! Excited to try.

  79. Nancy

    From the title in my news feed, I was thinking that there was perhaps a French-Canadian Christmas custom of making a fort from cheese — a savory version of a gingerbread house. Now that I’m over that disappointment, looking forward to grinding up our holiday leftover cheeses together.

  80. Shani

    I am munching this as we “speak” in front of the fire. With a glass of cava. Happy New Year indeed! We made ours with Brie, Cotswold, chèvre, and gruyere, 1/2 a cup of sauvignon blanc, and two cloves of garlic. Heaven. No chives at the market, hence the Cotswold. It was divine!

  81. Suzinc

    Love this idea since we seem to have left over cheese all the time. But when I tried this it came out with a “grainy” consistancy. I used mostly harder cheeses with a little of butter and white wine. Could it have been over processed?

  82. Meagan

    I heard you on NPR the other day and was so excited! I’ve been reading your blog and making your recipes for years, and I feel like I know you.

    I was so excited to have a friend on the radio. :)

  83. Marie M.C.

    Deb, brilliant! As usual. I never thought of this. I do have a favorite cheese ball recipe — just mix blue cheese and cream cheese then roll in nuts. But right this minute I have leftover brie, blue cheese, parmesan and cream cheese. Think that’s all. Going to try it. Love the idea of running it under the broiler. Happy New Year! Wishing you and yours (especially Alex and Jacob) tidings of love and joy in 2013!

  84. Anna

    Thanks for the tip and the link, Deb! And, yes – of course they’re still delicious, cookie/gooey separation or not. I had four today alone. It’s sick. Thank you for the wonderful recipe! This is day 3 and they’re still as moist and delicious as they were on day 1 (gotta love butter, right?) :)

  85. Natacha

    This looks a lot like a family recipe we do, called ‘fromagée’, where we mix all sorts of old cheeses with white cheese (a bit like cottage cheese), and various add-ins. Thanks for reminding me of it!

  86. Hillary B

    Made this for NYE and it was a big hit. I used leftover Parmesan, Colby, Gruyere, Jarlsberg, and Cream Cheese, 1 clove garlic, parsley, and chardonnay. Great way to use up leftover cheese.

  87. Nuala

    This isn’t a comment about fromage fort (although, as with everything you write about, it looks amazing)– it’s about that lovely cookbook of yours I was gifted and finally found myself opening yesterday. I’m already 3 recipes in, each one more delicious than the last. With every page I turned, I found something I knew I would make again and again without even trying it. So, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for sharing your amazing talent with us!!

  88. What a great post-party idea, this one is going to come in handy! I have some leftover white wine, a rind of Humboldt Fog that would be a shame to waste, half a package of queso fresco left over from enchiladas, and what else? Some mild goat cheese that I could add in there to get up to half a pound of cheese for a half recipe of this fromage forte. Thanks!

  89. Lydia

    I have no idea what “leftover cheese” is. I would love to try this, but alas, cheese does not ever become “leftover” in my house…yes that is a problem for my waist line, as most of it resides there.

  90. Wishing you all the best with the blog. You are so talented! Here’s to a fulfilling and “delicious” 2013. Your blog is an endless supply of stunning inspiration!

  91. Your post couldn’t have come at a better time for me! I had 4 different types of cheese leftover from a party along with a splash of wine and plenty of leftover bread too. Totally awesome recipe!!! (Your cookbook is absolutely beautiful too! Congratulations)

  92. I saw that recipe yesterday afternoon and I just HAD to try it yesterday evening with all my leftover cheese from Christmas – I’m French but I had no qualms whatsoever as it was this or the garbage can anyway.
    And I have to say, it was GREAT. A bit strong for my husband’s delicate tastebuds maybe, but spread on bread and put in the oven with a touch of honey on top… soooooo good ! So thanks for the idea !

  93. Deb – this looks incredible, and is such a great idea. You’re a genius!
    Also wanted to tell you that my hubby gave me your book for Christmas, and I was sooooo excited to receive it as I’ve been reading your blog for years. The book is gorgeous, and I love that it lays flat on the cupboard. We made the rancheros breakfast on New Year’s Day and we both loved it so much. Going to make it again this weekend!

  94. Jamie

    This sounds absolutely delicious! I have a lot of leftover cheese and this will be perfect.

    Question- Can you freeze this? (I doubt it, but thought I’d try.) I know you said it can keep and age… but for how long? A month? A week? Basically, I want to make this, but I don’t want to eat it all… I’d like to save it for a get-together.

    Thank you! I also got your gift for Christmas and love it! I made your cinnamon toast french toast and it was awesome!!

  95. I love formage-fort! It’s something I learned about a few years ago and yet have not really done anything with it. Thanks for the inspiration. I have enjoyed your blog all year and look forward to new stuff in 2013!

  96. Maja

    I made this for a NYE party and it blew everyone’s mind.
    The best part is that (being a cheese addict) I didn’t need to buy anything; all the ingredients were in our fridge already.
    This will be a party staple forever, thanks!

  97. Irina

    Ohhh… I am so sorry, this is the first one of your amazing recipes that for some reasons is not speaking to me at all… but I LOVE all the other 50,000+ you have come up with :) Thank you!

  98. Miz K

    Just made this with a couple lonely little bits of tomme, some caprice de dieu, some brie and a HUNK of tete de moine – delicious! My cheese drawer is happy and my morning toast will be happy, too!

  99. Renee

    I love this recipe. I have been making something similar with feta cheese for years but making it with leftover cheese bits….pure genius! I was just about to clean out the fridge and throw away all that good cheese! Instead I made this. I added some hot sauce and used olive oil instead of butter. Wonderful. I can’t wait to pop it under the broiler for an appetizer later this evening. Thanks for this…and all your wonderful recipes!

  100. MSR

    Another way to use cheese scraps in is a hot/melted version (Jacques Pepin, I think) where you heat the odds and ends of cheese in some milk on medium low heat for a long simmer (that way you just fish out the really hard rinds that don’t melt). Great for pizza–always different, always delicious.

  101. This is genius! I’ve been making my own cheese for a while now and often have batches too big to consume on my own, yet not perfect enough to give away. Going to try this out

  102. heather

    Made this tonight to take to a friend’s. I used some orange cheddar in the mix and it came out a rather nice shade of pale peach. Loved it – wonderful way to clear out cheese odds and ends.

  103. MrsNumbles

    This is perfect – we just finished Cheeseboard: the Sequel the night before and the leftovers just went into the processor for this recipe. Will let it age for a bit then use it for an “F” for effort dinner later in the week or brunch on Saturday. Thanks!

  104. I don’t know how I’ve never heard of fromage fort until now, but I’m so sold on the concept. Random bits of cheese are about all I have in my fridge at the moment. Looks like I’ll be having fromage fort with defrosted whole wheat naan for dinner.

  105. tess

    I made this yesterday and it was just so kick ass. we ate it with some cut baguette, some cut carrots, even used some pita chips. it was DELISH. thanks deb! (also, love your book. the grapefruit olive oil cake was fun to make and even more amazing to eat, so moist!)

  106. After making this with some left over gruyere, brie, parsley and pinot grigio (which I will be making again and again), I was inspired to attack my left over chocolate ends and bits collection and made a ganache out of it into which I dipped fruit and bread. Thanks for the inspiration.

  107. Oh man, Deb. This sounds a little crazy but I will take your word for how good it is.
    My mom makes a cheese salad of sharp cheddar, hard boiled eggs, crushed garlic and mayo. It’s quite typically Russian and we refer to it as “Cholesterol salad” mostly ;)
    Yours is clearly way classier.

  108. Jan-o

    Delicious. Had friends over for cocktails and served many tasty things, and this one got the most attention. Stored the remainder in the refrigerator and served it to a different group of friends before dinner, and it was a hit again.
    Living in Northern New England, everyone appreciates a frugal idea, and when I told people how I’d made it, their eyes lit up! One friend pretty much parked himself next to the plate and kept eating steadily! Thank you.

  109. Geri

    Deb, love this for using up those party cheeses. Made this several times using Alton Brown’s recipe. Had rave reviews every time I made it. Was “almost” embarrassed to say it was from left-over cheese. Definitely will make it again. Like the idea of using it as a spread. Grilled cheese, garlic cheese bread??? Yum

  110. I made this on the fly for a party tonight, but I totally had to improvise with what was on hand. So, FYI, this works just as well with a decent sake as with white wine! Also, if you forget to shred the hard cheese (err, ooopsie) just blend it a whole lot more and add a little milk and some extra butter. For herbs and additions, I used a clove of garlic, some finely chopped green onion, ground pepper, fresh parsley and fresh chives.

    Was it a hit? You know it was. Deb, you’re a genius.

  111. JessM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your cook book! I can’t keep my hands off of it. I’ve already made the pizza dough two weekends in a row! I could go on and on and on, but in short… Thanks for all your amazing-ness. See you when you come to Austin :)

  112. Alyssa

    My husband was skeptical when I told him I wanted to blend all of our old cheese nubs together and spread it on bread, but we BOTH ate a TON of it broiled on French bread this evening! We used goat cheese, asiago, gruyere, cheddar, and parmesan with a little butter, half a clove of garlic, and a couple of sloshes of red wine since we had no white. Not only was the spread a wonderful shade of pink, we had to remind ourselves to save some room for “real” dinner. I’ve never been so excited about leftover cheese!

  113. Gina

    Seriously people??!!? Leftover cheese?!? What kind of concept is this? However, I will gladly go to the absolutely bestest store in the whole wide world (HEB in Texas, so sorry for you non-Texans who don’t have access) and get some freshly purchased cheese and make this for my next nosh! Sounds yummy! Oh, and imagine my disappointment as I only just discovered this yummy blog this week and to my dismay TODAY I read that Deb was in Houston just a few months ago! AARRGH!!! Next time I guess, and in the meantime, it’s off to Amazon I go to order the cookbook……

  114. Ellie

    Hi, I actually come to your blog from time to time and today, i was really surprised you found out about fromage fort !
    By the way, I’m french and i think the best way to eat fromage fort is to spread it on bread, put it under the grill and then eat it right away while it’s still hot!

  115. Catherine

    Deb, this was amazing (not that I expected anything less). I just coerced my mother into making this as a snack to take to a super bowl party. Classiest super bowl app ever! Many thanks!

  116. As a frequent party host with an endless supply of leftover cheese, herbs and wine, I finally tried this recipe. I used feta, provolone and pecorino and added way too much rosemary and thyme in an attempt to use up all my wilting herbs, so it ended up being green and bitter but I’m anxious to try it again and get it right the next time. If at first you don’t succeed…

  117. Jane

    Hello! This is very interesting because when I was a nanny in the Piedmont region of Italy, they served Bruss (said, Bruce), which is similar to this. Except they didn’t add wine, and they had had it for 25 years!!!!! It was basically like fire on the tongue, and I like strong cheese! They just kept stirring it up and saving it for special occasions, it was a gallon size jar. Amazing people, those Italians! Killed a lot of food myths for me. Anyway, thought you’d find that interesting. Btw, it is not an Italian looking word because it is in the Piemontese dialect which incorporates the nearby border languages, it is very close to Switzerland and France.

  118. Kay

    I just made this and it is fantastic! I used Brie, Gouda, Parmesan, and soft goat. Oregano and thyme rounded it out nicely. Will be taking this to a dinner party if it lasts that long…

  119. Heather

    Made this the other night to break in my new food processor. Yum! It also makes a delicious pasta sauce when mixed with a little pasta water. And yes, ricotta works – I used some and I think it helped texture-wise to balance out the harder cheeses.

  120. Alexis

    I had nothing to lose (well, besides the ends of some cheese that…eeks…I probably should have thrown away anyway!) in trying this recipe. And let me tell you: lose, I did NOT! I made this with the following blend (don’t judge): feta, parmesan, cheddar (I think it was cheddar?), and 3/4th of Trader Joe’s cranberry-covered goat cheese log. And then tossed in a couple scoops of the compound herb butter I made for Thanksgiving, some glugs of Two Buck Chuck (Pinot Gris, I think), and OMG. What I expected to be a hot mess of cheese turned into one of the best things I’ve ever served at a party. And everyone lived to tell of it! Fromage fort, you are one strong mama…in every way!

  121. Katie

    I made this last new year’s eve and loved it! I was thinking about making it again, but I was just curious–have you ever made it with champagne instead of regular wine? Hubs is not a champagne drinker, and if the goal is using up what we have on hand…. :)

  122. Nabeela

    I had some really nice(and expensive!) cheese lying around getting moldy and I knew this was finally the time to make fromage fort. Holy hell, it tastes AMAZING…even with my bastardly substitution of vegetable broth mixed with white wine vinegar for the wine ;)
    I used a pound of tallegio, garrotxa and monte enebro(all in equal amounts). So So So good!

  123. Peter C

    Oops! And you claim to have made Fromage Fort. Noooooo!

    With respect, Fromage Fort has been “created” in France for hundreds of years and nothing so formal as a “recipe” was ever used. Travel to France friend and find the proper stuff, not your “Cheesy Spread”. I am sure it’s OK, but it ain’t Fromage Fort.

    For example, how long do you let it ferment? You don’t say!!

    Here’s a footnote, local law in Bethune, prohibits the carrying of their style of FF on public transport, it’s too strong.

    Have a great and non-plagiarist day folks.

    1. idalily

      FWIW, I have stayed with French friends (yes, in France) and watched them make this very thing to serve at a party that same night. No fermenting was involved, and they called it frommage fort. They explained that in some regions, it can be fermented and kept for years, but that is not necessary, nor always desirable. So, anyone reading Peter’s obnoxious post can rest easy. The recipe is fine and authentically French, and he’s a schmuck.

  124. Andrew

    For other readers who don’t have a food processor, this worked well in my blender. It’s just dependent on enough liquid from the wine and a few stirs between blending sessions.

  125. This is definitely the best solution to using leftover cheese when you only have a little bit! I thought about trying to mac and cheese, but I would have to get more cheese and then I thought of trying a soufflé, but I didn’t want my first soufflé to be a million different flavors. ah. anyway, this is wonderful and I’m so happy to know about it. Thank you!

  126. Deanna

    Just made this with some leftover chardonnay, manchego, feta, parm, gruyere and fresh herbs from the garden. About once a month, my husband and I pool together any scraps of cheese, fruit, honey, mustards, jams, crackers, and bread to have a makeshift but romantic cheese plate-inspired dinner. I think this will be just the thing to revitalize this tradition!

  127. Anne Casson

    My mother always did this with old cheese. She never included blue cheese which may dominate the mix and I do use, in moderation. She always used Port but I believe any booze will do acknowledging a Ted wine will colour the spread. This recipe provides correct proportions. Yum.

  128. I read the title and thought it meant you were building a sort of metaphorical fromage fort for New Year’s Eve… you know, like a blanket fort, but with cheese. It sounds like a great way to protect oneself from the horror that New Years Eve can be.

  129. Marjorie Hansen

    I’ve had semi hard cheese hardening in my fridge for a while. I decided to combine them all after reading this recipe. I didn’t have any white wine. 😏 So I’m addition to butter I added cream cheese. One of the cheeses had truffles in it. Whoa baby, does that flavor dominate! Serving it with sliced baguette at5a dinner party I’m having on Saturday

  130. FizzyBlonde

    True confession: I used supermarket cheddar that expired in March 2018, Trader Joe’s goat cheese that expired in November 2018 and it still worked. Really well, actually. I also added a little soft butter, some unexpired ricotta, garlic, parsley and white wine – delicious! Thanks for another winner, Deb. [Also important lesson learned: supermarket cheddar expiration dates mean nothing.]

  131. Laura

    I just made a lazy version of this for lunch today: mixed some cream cheese with the little nub of blue I had left, a few gratings of super-sharp cheddar, and some grated parmesan and romano, as well as some microplaned garlic. I didn’t add wine (didn’t have any open), and I just mashed everything together with a spoon instead of using the food processor for such a small amount. But the flavor of that stuff on my homemade bread was outrageous. Awesome quarantine lunch.

  132. Ashley

    Just made this for Thanksgiving since I am hosting this year. I used my food processor to make some shredded cheese with my cheese drawer’s gift of sharp cheddar, smoked cheddar, and Parm that I will also use in my Brussels sprouts gratin on the big day. Then I pulled most of it out of the processor and put it in a ziploc container, added in some leftover cheese stick (yes, genuinely), fresh mozzarella, creamy French pavé, and an EENSY pat of butter along with French wine, half a garlic clove, basil and chives from my garden. Delicious on some ritz crackers for snack today, and it will be even better in a couple days. Thanks, Deb!

  133. Kimberly

    Made for the first time today, to rave reviews. Turned odds and ends of cheese no one wanted into a much-loved lunch Deb, this one needs to be added to the cheese category. It’s not listed there. 😉

  134. Brenna

    Jaque Pepin’s writing introduced me to this rustic, delicious creation years ago! Love at first bite. Lust and Love forever more.
    SO good hugging veggies. Dangerously good broiled on favorite bread.
    Even better the next day!
    A MUST try!

  135. Sherra Murphy

    I’ve just made this while doing an early Saturday morning re-org / clearout of cabinets and fridge, which kinda resulted in having cheese and wine on crackers for breakfast! It’s divine. I see no reason not to stir it into hot pasta on a cold day.