How to find Vegetarian Cheese in France
Finding vegetarian cheese (cheese made with non-animal rennet) in the UK has been easy for a number of years now, due to the clear labeling of products, indicating whether, or not, they are vegetarian.
In France the labeling of foodstuff to indicate whether suitable for vegetarians (convient aux végétariens) is not widespread at the moment (see below for the exception we have found).
In fact, many cheeses, you can buy in French supermarkets, fail to fully list the ingredients.
So, if you can’t rely on hoping to find the label convient aux végétariens, on cheese, what should you look for?
Well if the cheese doesn’t list it’s ingredients assume it is NOT vegetarian: put it down and move on. If the ingredients are listed look for one of these two words: “présure” or “coagulant”.
If the word “présure” is on the label it is safe to assume this is animal rennet and therefore NOT vegetarian (sometimes they are even more helpful and state “présure animale”). If it says “coagulant” generally this is non animal in origin (but remember that rennet is a coagulant so to be safe check this list)
Just be aware that if the cheese is labeled AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) or are red label cheeses then they have definately been made using présure animale and are NOT VEGETARIAN.
Happily the lovely people at Paysange are now making cheese which are made without the use of animal rennet and are labeled clearly (on the back of the packet) convient aux végétariens. I am not sure how widely available they are but two of the cheeses this company produce are stocked at our local Ecomarché.
If you know of any other cheeses, or other products sold in France, which are labeled Convient aux végétariens please leave a comment or email us.