There’s a place in Paris that the Accidental Locavore’s husband used to refer to as shoe heaven and I always said, “if it was really shoe heaven, all the shoes would be free.” Well, the other day, I may have stumbled into cheese heaven.
The French Dairy Organization has decided that Americans don’t eat enough French cheese, and to remedy that are backing a nine-year operation to get us into eating plus de fromage. It starts with a slick new store on 39th Street in Manhattan—the French Cheese Board.
Part store, part gallery (photos of good-looking French women eating cheese), part tasting area, along with a soon-to-be cooking school and other educational projects or, as they say, the “first international event space dedicated solely to the deliciousness of French cheese.” The website has beautiful photos of cheese, along with pronunciation guides, wine tips and some interesting-looking recipes–all to help you “make it magnifique”.
This fall, in partnership with the Cheeses of Europe, they’re doing three Friday pop-up events. I went to the first one around lunch time. It sure didn’t look like New Yorkers needed their arms twisted into eating French cheese! The place was jammed and it was easy to see why. At tables lining both walls were the participating producers, each with big platters holding tasting samples of their products. There was even a wine bar, if you needed a little palate cleanser, or just wanted to feel more French. The fromage ran the gamut from butters to triple crèmes to blues, chèvres and everything in-between. I ate most of them. And I bought a lot of them!
My favorites were pretty typical for me–a terrific triple crème and a Saint Marcellin (also pretty creamy and a little bit stinky–in a good way). The French feta is lovely and makes a great addition to my lunch salads, and the Raclette made a fantastic “potato salad” with a recipe I got from the website. Since I also picked up a couple of butters, it may be time to do another butter tasting (so I can stock up in November).
There will be two more tastings before the end of the year, on November 21st and December 12th. They run from 11-7, but it seems to be a good idea to get there early–less crowded, shorter lines to check out, and more selection. And don’t forget, there’s a Maison Kayser just a block away (that’s where all the great bread they used came from). Look for me there!