About mid-way through my month in Paris, I decided I would learn more French cheese. I read my French cheese book, but the choices and varieties were overwhelming! So Jason and I decided one day we would have lunch at a fromagerie that not only sold cheese but offered a variety of cheese tasting menus.
We each ordered the five cheese assiette after confirming with the waiter we wouldn't be given the same cheeses (mai non!). It came with a nice green salad and bread, and we also had a carafe of wine to accompany it.
The cheeses arrived in a circle from weakest to strongest, and we were told to eat them accordingly. And each had a little flag indicating its name.
My plate contained: Clacbitou, Comté, Reblochon, Bleu des Causses, and Hansi. Jason's contained: Ste. Maure, Cremeaux du Puy, Brie aux Noix, Pont L'Eveque, and Dauphin.
Aside from the Hansi and Dauhpin — the two strongest cheeses — we liked them all. The biggest surprise was the Pont L'Eveque. I'd purchased Pont L'Eveque from Murray's Cheese in NYC about eighteen months ago, and when we unwrapped it and served it to our guests, we were convinced there was something wrong with it. Wrong as in: "Holy Crap, did some liquid cooling agent from the fridge spill on this cheese and get absorbed by it ten days ago and then just ferment in there?!?!"
We couldn't eat it, and the next day I took it back to Murray's, only to be told it was fine, that's the way it's supposed to be! So when the platter arrived and we saw the Pont L'Eveque, we were very scared. But it was decicious. I asked the young cheeseman about it after, explaining how gross we'd found it before. He said the one we we'd just tried wasn't very old, and that it sounded like the one from Murray's was much older. Apparently Pont L'Eveque can get pretty strong as it ages. He then told us more about the current state of cheese, how the more you like cheese the more you get into strong cheeses, etc. etc.
It was a lovely lunch, and I recommend it for anyone looking to expand their cheese horizons while in Paris. Lunch for two was ~35&Euro;, with 50cl of red wine. Note: closed on Mondays
La Fromagerie 31
64, rue de Seine
Also, if eating a lot of cheese causes you some digestion problems and "backups", I recommend Naturalia, a natural food chain store in various locations around Paris. They sell several herbal teas to help set things in proper motion again. It's also the place to buy soy milk, soy yogurt, and those sort of American dietary things you wouldn't expect to find in France.
11/13, rue Montorguiel