Cervelle de Canut

Cervelle de Canut
Cervelle de Canut

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Cervelle de Canut, a delicious cheese dip from Lyon, traditionally made with Faisselle cream cheese, but here, we use the easy-to-get cottage cheese.

The name may sound romantic if you don’t speak French; if you do, well …, it means “silk weaver’s brains” – eew! Makes one think twice about the recipe doesn’t it?

Cervelle de Canut Recipe

Created sometime in the mid 19th century in Lyon, it’s named after the silk workers of that time. Now whether it’s an insult or a tribute, one can only guess but likening one’s brains to mush is probably leaning slightly toward the first supposition, don’t you think?

Cheese for Cervelle de Canut

Traditionally, the cheese used for this is Faisselle, a type of fresh cream cheese or fromage blanc. The name faiselle actually refers to the tiny colander that the cheese is made in. The cheese itself is thick, almost yoghurt like and can be eaten sweet or savoury, as in today’s recipe, Cervelle de Canut.

When I first learned to make this recipe in the mid 90’s in Lyon, I was informed that should I not be able to find faisselle, to substitute it with cottage cheese, with just a touch of cream. And that’s how I’ve always made it in the UK. However, if you can get faiselle, use it and also omit the cream.

How to serve Cervelle de Canut?

How does one eat it? Well, it’s a dip and I’ve had it with crunchy vegetables, with bread sticks, on jacket potatoes or just with soldiers (little strips of toast).

I’ve kept this pretty basic, with just 2 herbs, a little garlic, tomatoes and the obligatory wine vinegar.

I absolutely love using roasted tomatoes in this recipe, if I have any and in the summer I always do! Fresh tomatoes will do nicely too. You can add more herbs if you like, tarragon, chervil, whatever you fancy, but make sure they go together!

You can also increase the vinegar to your taste. I quite like a high tang in it, so am always more generous with the vinegar than the recipe calls for.

I’ve also added some fresh red chillies to the mix in the past, because you know how I love my chillies!

Leave the cottage cheese lumpy or zap it in a blender for a smoother look, it’s up to you.

My only problem is that I’ve usually eaten half of it before it gets to the table – it’s that good!

Shall we get our aprons on?

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood.

Lin xx

More Dips & Sauces on LinsFood

Cervelle de Canut

A delicious cheese dip from Lyon, traditionally made with Faisselle cream cheese.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Add to Collection
Course: dip, Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Keyword: dips
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 99kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 500 g cottage cheese blended smooth if desired
  • 1 Tbsp double cream
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • a handful chives finely chopped
  • a handful flat Italian parsley or curly is fine, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes fresh or roasted, roughly chopped, including the juices
  • 1 pinch salt
  • dash of freshly ground black black pepper


  • Mix all the ingredients together, cover and let sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes if you have time. If not, it’ll taste just as lovely freshly made.
  • Taste it and add more salt, pepper or vinegar as you see fit, to your taste.
  • Serve as suggested above.


Can be made a couple of hours ahead.


Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 313mg | Potassium: 193mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
Made it? Upload your photosMention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!

8 thoughts on “Cervelle de Canut”

  1. Jonathan HL

    Just saw this on G+. I came to check out your blog. I am very impressed. Just wanted to tell you that I have just bought Italian cooking course on Udemy from the link in your menu. Looking forward to it!

  2. I made this and used it as a dip this weekend and it was fantastic! It was really quick and easy to make and tasted wonderful with carrot sticks and crusty bread. Thanks for the recipe, Lin!

  3. Hey Azlin! Found your website a couple of months ago through a friend who has it bookmarked. I wanted to tell you that my wife and I have made this dip a fe tie now. The first time, we stuck to your recipe, after that, we followed your advice and experimented. It’s a keeper for us, whatever the season! Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating