Les Fromages du Jour

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Yes, that’s a few slices of my pain aux ceriales from Le Grenier à Pain paired with some delightful cheeses that I discovered when visiting one of my absolute favorite fromagers here in Paris this morning.

Disclaimer: I confess to a secret and unfulfilled ambition.

Except for working outside in the icy-cold winter and freezing my bourse off, getting up at a godawful hour, and lifting heavy wheels of cheese, my fantasy job is to work as a fromager. Being surrounded by big wheels of cheese and small pyramids of goat cheese, the smell of all those gooey, runny, and nutty cheeses…it all makes me delirious with pleasure
Ok, I guess I could deal with lifting the wheels of cheese, but getting up at 4am?
Now that’s another story…

As a fromager, I would make recommendations to les clients. “Qu’est-ce que vous desirez, madame?”, I would ask, ready to council the customer. (Using my perfect French, of course…this is my fantasy, remember?) I’d slice and wrap a fine selection of cheeses to serve to her her family after a well-prepared supper of roast pintade and pommes des terres rôti with a fine, crisp Sancerre or gravely, full-flavored Pomerol.

We’d make witty banter about Johnny Halliday and socks with whimsical cartoon figures on them while I selected a few fine cheeses, perhaps a dead-ripe Camembert de Normandie and a Corsican Brin d’Amour, covered with fragrant mountain herbs.

Ah, je rêve

I visit many cheese shops, oops, I mean fromageries here in Paris. I search for shops that have unusual cheeses, since many of the best ones seem to focus on a particular region or type of cheese like les chèvres or fine mountain cheeses from the Savoie.

Although many of the outdoor markets have people selling cheese, I’ve found none better than N. Caillère at the Popincourt Market in the 11th arrondissement on the Boulevard Richard Lenoir. Twice a week, the two cheery women who run their stand never fail to prompt me to discover a cheese I’ve never tasted.
Such as this triple-crème Délice de Saint-Cyr

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Triple-cream means the cheese has a minimum fat content of a whopping 75% (although that percentage refers to the amount of fat in the solids, and most cheeses are about 50% water and 50% solids…still, it ain’t no rice cake.)
Although I ate it at it gooiest best, at room temperature, the cheese left a sweet, suprisingly cool aftertaste.

They also had a lovely, and well-aged Comté de Jura, a marvelously-nutty, full-flavored cheese made from raw cow’s milk and is the most widely-produced cheese in France.
And it’s popular for good reason; it’s always excellent and pairs well with most other cheeses on a cheese plate as well as both white and red wines.

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I’m in love most goat cheeses; I seem to like them all. With their smooth, dreamy-white interior and their soft, gentle aroma of the farm, it doesn’t matter to me whether they’re fresh or aged. It’s a rare day at the market for me if I don’t have one tucked into my market basket.

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This Tomme de Chèvre is from a small farm and is called Vendômois. Although the outside has the fine crust of mold, I was told the cheese is rather young and the elasticity and suppleness of the p&acurc;te indeed suggests less affinage, or cave ripening.

N. Caillère
Fromager

-Popincourt Market
(Tuesday and Friday)

-Place Réunion Market
(Sunday)

13 comments

  • Blasphemy! Your blog is SO city! But you lie, that wasn’t your lunch, that was just the appetizer before you ate that whole chunk of Delice wasn’t it.. which by the way does look delish.. Have you ever tried a cheese called Brillat Savarin?
    I’ve recently become WAY too enamoured with it..

  • No No NO!
    I need to be writing more about the rich smells of the city sidewalks and mètros, the perky French women wrapping scarves around their necks with a chic-ness only found in Paris, and convivial meals with carafes of red wine, rich meat stews, and rich creme brûlees.

    I shouldn’t be wasting my readers interest on things like bad service gripes, recipes for American toffee and chocolate bars, and my predilection for pocketing other people’s Sharpies…can I?

  • You write whatever you want, Mr. David. We’ll read every word. But I’m warning you — if you put up too many more posts about the joys of goat cheese, with these gorgeous close-ups? I might just have to faint. And then you’d lose your most faithful reader!

  • David, I for one don’t care what you write about, as long as it includes cheese! That Delice de Saint-Cyr is utterly swoon-worthy! It makes me long for those markets on blvd Richard Lenoir. I used to live on rue du Chemin Vert, so I went to the market that ran from the Place de la Bastille to Metro Breguet-Sabin. Now I’m kicking myself for not venturing further north, to the Popincourt Market! Until I can get back to Paris and rectify my mistake, merci mille fois for taking me to the market vicariously!

  • Everyone must want to be a cheesemonger in their hearts of hearts, in their dreams, in retirement, or in heaven. Cheese drips, it moulds, it smells. It’s so perfect a human art. Beautiful pictures.

  • there is a certain alchemy that intices.. have you ever worked with one? why not?

    I am making my new year’s resolution to the up for the best city blog for florence next year.. you have inspired me..
    thank you!

  • Diva: You’re blog is already lovely as it is. It’s about you, your love for your city and all thing Italian, and how you cook with the marvelous ingredients available at your mercado…you give us a little slice of culinary life in your city of Florence…

  • i think your blog is very city blog, and you’ve got my vote! ;)

  • Great post on cheese.
    I love cheese.

    Just a short note : ‘pression’ is feminine, so you must say ‘la pression’. And at the moment i’m quite under pressure. AAAAHHHHH!

    Love
    Fanny

  • Thanks Fanny…well, in my fantasy I speak perfect French, but in reality I don’t write it very well. Merci!

  • David,

    If I could, I would marry that triple cream …

    Oh to be in Paris!

  • WHAT???? You are SO city. Sheesh.

    I dreamt that I was speaking perfect french – then woke up thinking hey if I can dream it……then again….

    I voted for you :)

  • Not city enough? Bah! I think your take on the city is absolutely charming, refreshingly honest and engaging. It comes across as the writing of a person in love with his home, and completely entrenched in its culture – but beyond the honeymoon stage, a person who has been through the novelty and has now settled in.
    And that cheese makes me drool.