Reviewer’s Note: Samples of the products discussed below were provided to me at no cost from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. You can join Smiley360 here!
Not long ago I was invited to review products in the Boursin line of cheese products. Never having sampled the line, and previously unfamiliar with what exactly the term “Gournay” signified with regard to cheese (it is simply a way of identifying a package of cheese as authentic Boursin), I welcomed the opportunity. Putting together a spread—no pun intended, I swear—centered around tasty soft cheeses and accompanying fare seemed a perfect way to bid adieu to a somewhat harsh Winter seemingly intent on overstaying its welcome.
The products I sampled are Boursin Garlic & Herbs Spreadable Cheese and Boursin Shallot & Chive Gournay Cheese. For the purposes of this review I sampled each product with a variety of other foods that included garlic foccacia crisps, buttery crackers, mandarin marmalade, mango chutney, berry preserves, celery, assorted nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews), chilled blackened salmon, avocado, and smoked ham on toasted sourdough. Oh yes, that’s right. When we decide we’re gonna do a thing, we do the thing.
My initial impression of the Garlic and Herb cheese was that it was a bit softer than I’d anticipated. Having expected a texture like the refrigerated cream cheese bricks I often heft home from the supermarket, I was surprised to find it far lighter and more airy, akin to a stiff whipped cream or cake frosting. This easily spreadable consistency makes it great for use as a mix-in for dips, a burger topping, a tasty filling for mini pastry shells, or as a sandwich spread in place of mayonnaise. Its flavors are subtle, the garlic taking a strong lead with slight bitterness lurking beneath it to add some complexity.
The Shallot and Chive cheese is firmer than the Garlic and Herb, but still very much a soft cheese with a slightly crumbly texture. Its flavor is more pronounced than its more spreadable counterpart. The richer-tasting of the two, it lends itself to use in green salads, studding thin slices of wagyu steak, or in grilled sandwiches like the ones I made using Smokey Bourbon Ham on toasted sourdough with a smear of spicy brown mustard. This one definitely left us wanting more when it was gone.
Buttery crackers with sliced, lightly salted avocado accentuated Boursin’s creamy texture, and as loath as I am to stoop to using the word “mouthfeel,” the sensation of these combined ingredients unfurling across the palate was pleasant and mild.
I’ve made these spinach and ground beef phyllo wraps before, always using standard cream cheese. Boursin Garlic & Herbs cheese provided an extra kick significant enough that I could abandon my usage of regular cream cheese altogether for this dish. Judging by the reception it received from those who enjoyed these with me, this one is destined for repeat appearances in the Flavorful World kitchen.
The Shallot & Chive Gournay cheese complemented the pairing of garlic foccacia crisps and blackened salmon dotted with Japanese mayo. Together, they comprised what was arguably the most addictive menu offering.
Boursin cheeses are versatile as well as fun and easy to eat. There are simple, flavorsome pleasures to be had in simply spreading them on crackers daubed with preserves, chutney, mustard, honey, etc. and having at them. Half the fun of sampling them for me was figuring out which cheese’s flavors best paired with which foods, and that source of enjoyment is one I intend to revisit soon. I’m glad to have sampled Boursin’s product line, and look forward to continuing to explore all it has to offer.