The way to shop for cheese in France is not to go into a shop with a list of cheeses that you plan to buy. The way to do it is to go in, look around, see what looks best that day, and buy that. There is, however, another factor – and probably the most important one – and that’s to listen to the advice of the fromager. He or she can tell you what’s the ripest and best that day, or let you know what’ll be best depending on when you plan on eating it. In all my time in Paris, I’ve never been steered wrong by a fromager.
Jérôme Boulestreau is one of the nicest fellows in Paris. Jérôme was the fromager and owner of Bellevaire Fromagerie, located in Belleville, a charming neighborhood perched just above Paris. It’s one of the double-digit arrondissements, a typical Parisian neighborhood, where a lively community of people shops at one of the many boulangeries for their daily bread. Locals pop into a favorite pastry shop to pick up a dessert for that evening. And when they want cheese, they come to Jérôme for advice.
Jérôme transitioned from owning a cheese shop, to founding Maison Castro, a modern épicerie that carries cheese and charcuterie (hams and cured meats), olive oils, wine, French condiments, and offers up some of the best sandwiches in Paris. In this video, Jérôme shows us a selection of the magnificent cheeses from France, as well as a raw milk crème fraîche that’s so thick, you can turn over the pot and not lose a drop. There’s the most spectacular Comté cheese imaginable, a true Camembert du Normandie (and one of the cheeses that’s most in danger of disappearing), plus ash-covered goat cheeses, which I can’t resist bringing home whenever I visit a cheese shop. I hope you enjoy my visit with Jérôme, and if you get a chance, stop by yourself – and say hi!
114 rue de Belleville (20th)
Tél: 01 42 52 79 23
[For more videos, check out my Paris Video Archives]