I woke up this morning with an odd craving for cheese. I'm talking big, rich, smelly, rotting, runny cheese, with some blue stuff in it and thick crust enveloping it. Man, I could write a novel about cheese! Let's see, chapter 1: Gorgonzola, chapter 2: Brie, Camembert, chapter 3: Emmental, Comte, Gruyere, chapter 4: ok, stop. I could go on for ages, and my mouth is salavating with nothing but some miserable babybels in my meager little fridge. I know, this post may seem odd, gross, and unglamorous to some of you, but this is my French side coming out, and every once in a while, well, I just need to explore it. And I know, some of you do too. So, needless to say, since I've arrived in London, I've been hunting for the best, and the most full-of-character cheese shops. I found them! I'm not talking about the Food Halls of Harrods and Selfridges, though I must say, Harrods' goat's cheese, topped with a smidgen of fig jam on a small piece of nutty toast...oh Yum! But, let's get serious here. I am talking high quality pro-stuff that just makes your head spin it is so bloody smelly. SO where was I. Oh yes, London cheese shops.
The first one that comes to mind is Neal's Yard Dairy at Borough Market.
Now these guys are cheese champs, they really know what they're doing. And what I love about these cheeses is that they're British! Let me tell you that I was born with preconceived notions that good cheeses hail from France and from France only. Let me tell you now: I was wrong. This cheese is so so smelly, it hurts. And I love it! These little stinkers are brought to the market all the way from the British isles, where the farm goats and cows are the happiest living beings in the universe. And you can get everything from Cashel blue and Ragstone Goat, to Montgomery Cheddar and yummy yummy Stilton. The presentation is so British, so perfect, it makes the French cheese shops look like my grandmother's attic.
The Grand Entrance of Borough Market
A Gruyere Pyramid at Neal's Yard Dairy stand at Borough Market
My next stop on this cheesy journey is La Fromagerie in Highbury and it is an adorable spot. While I'm here, I might as well pitch La Fromagerie in Marylebone, since it is the same awesome shop, but just a tad bigger populated by a tad fancier customers. If I were to live in a house made of cheese, I would live in La Fromagerie. During my first three months in London, my flat was located stone-throws away from Highbury, and walking to class entailed passing by this slice of heaven everyday and not getting tempted by the devilish smells of my home country's delicious treasures. Imagine that. We Frenchies live and relish in the stinkiness. Smelliness is good. Smelliness is sexy. Anyways, needless to say, I've made some very sexy and fruitful stops there and ended up stocking up my fridge with inhuman amounts of comte, emmental and smelly camembert. Oh and did I mention that these cheeses are imported all the way from the farms of France, where our cows and goats are as happy if not happier than the British cows and goats? I didn't think so. You can even find some of the shadiest and obscure cheeses in the world at La Fromagerie. The world-renowned Trou du Cru for example, has me spinning right round like a record baby, and it stinks up an entire room leaving me feeling quite woozy. Plus in contrast to their sister shop in Marylebone, theirs has a third the surface but as many delicious if not more delicious chunks of heaven. Go get happy!
La Fromagerie in Highbury
La Fromagerie in Marylebone