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France Crowns English Civil Servant Matthew Feroze As Top Cheesemaker

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"One who does not eat cheese must be in a state of constant turbulence," an old French proverb goes.

But it is a British civil servant who has left French cheesemakers in a turbulent state, after being crowned king of the fromage in France's national cheesemaking contest.

Matthew Feroze, on sabbatical from his job as a government accountant, planned to take a quiet respite in the French countryside and perfect his hobby of cheese-making.

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Matthew Feroze has been crowned France's top cheesemaker

But Feroze could be about to leave his auditing days behind, after becoming the first foreigner to win the Concours National des Fromagers at the prestigious Salon Mondiale de Restauration et Hôtellerie, beating one hundred competitors at the contest.

In just one year, Feroze has found himself at the top of the French cheese-making world, since he first found a temporary job with Lyon's the Fromagerie Mons-Etienne Boissy in 2011.

His bosses there were so pleased with their prodigy, they entered him for the national championship.

Feroze told the Independent his French competitors had been nothing but gracious. "The members of the jury and the competitors were very encouraging and friendly. If there was any resentment, they did not show it.

“I fell in love with France, and French cheese, when I came to Lyon to learn French after university.

“There is something very deep and rich about cheese and about the people involved in cheese. You will never make your fortune out of cheese. It attracts people who have a real passion for what they do.”

“And in view of the way things are going, I am considering looking for a new career in cheese.”

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Matthew Feroze's winning cheese platter

It was not just the taste of his cheese that Feroze was judged on, but a blind-taste test, a slicing competition and the presentation of his platter.

Presentation is something Feroze takes extremely seriously, posting pictures on his blog of carving roses and patterns into the rinds of his cheese, after first practicing on soap.

Ten types of cheese must be offered, and 15 more is the competitors choice, with Feroze offering two English favourites, cheddar and stilton.

And his personal favourite? “Beaufort Chalet d’Alpage, a cheese of the high Alpine pastures, made in picture-book farms from picture-book cows”.

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