Quotes

May 6, 2014

Crème de la Crème: Tomme de Jura

THE STORY:

When we first move here, we find a small, odiferous cheese shop on Ile St. Louis, and stop in to show the girls how many more varieties of what we lovingly call "stinky cheese" they will find here in Paris. The proprietor gives us many free cheese samples, moving from a young comté up to a much more aged and pungent version. There is also a rabbit sausage that Gigi, our near vegetarian, spits out when he's not looking.

Every time I am standing there tasting the cheese with the family, he suddenly pops up from behind me with his face mere inches (centimetres, that is) from mine. He has brown teeth -- so very far from the North American dental variety. I squawk every time, and fear he may actually kiss my earlobe. Whenever I have thought of the romance of the City of Lights, Creepy-Man-in-a-Stinky-Cheese-Shop is not usually the first image that springs to mind. Not only does my husband never come to my rescue, he finds the entire thing hysterically funny. Then again, Anthony is the same guy who once slipped a couple twenties to two oil-slathered Vegas male strippers to make me a banana hammock sandwich, then laughed till he cried.

We buy some cheese here anyway, and the girls get free postcards. I am happy to report leaving the store without a free case of genital herpes. But even though it remains our closest cheese shop, I rarely frequent it. It's okay, but why go to "okay" when I can go to "great"?

Here then -- after nearly half a year of serious cheese hunting, buying, sampling, photographing, and devouring -- is a list of some of the best cheese shops in Paris. Truly, many of these -- especially the first ones listed (with photos) are worthy of being tourist destinations.

THE A-LIST:

Laurent Dubois. I sometimes go to the branch in the 4th arrondissement at 97-99 rue Saint Antoine. But my favorite branch, undoubtedly, is the one at 47 Boulevard Saint-Germain in Place Maubert in the 5th. I practically consider this my second home. The salespeople are so knowledgeable, and so kind. And none of them are even the least bit creepy.
 

 
Androuet: many branches, but this one is the 17th arrondissement. One of the greatest aspects of this chain of stores is the Androuet website. It's the single-most helpful website on cheeses I've found yet. Frankly, I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

 
Pascal Beillevaire: It has several branches, but this one, at 8 rue Delambre in the 14th arrondissement, is where I spend much of my cheese-based-time, thanks to its close proximity to the girls' gym, where I spend much of my bench-warming/parental-waiting-around-time.
 


Quatrehomme, 62 rue de Sevres in the 7th arrondissement. This one is a further walk from the gym, but well worth it. Not only is the selection and quality of their cheeses amazing, but their little extras -- like their gels and toppings -- are delicious and elegant.


Barthelemy, 51 Rue de Grenelle, in the 7th arrondissement. I haven't been to this one much. It's just out of reach for me, geographically speaking. Also, one of my friends had a rude encounter here. That being said, it's one of the best cheese shops in the city, and everybody's allowed a bad day, even a cheesemonger:

 
 
Also fantastic are some of these little neighborhood shops. You may not make a special trip out to them, but if you need cheese, and you're close by, you shouldn't be disappointed.

My B-List:

La Fermette, 86 rue Montorgueil, in the 2nd arrondissement.

Fromagerie Jouannault, 39 rue de Bretagne, in the 3rd arrondissement.

Fromagerie Marie-Anne Cantin, 12 Rue du Champ de Mars, in the 7th arrondissement.

La Ferme Saint Hubert, 36 rue Rochechouart, in the 9th arrondissement.

Fromagerie de Paris, 229 Rue de Charenton, in the 12th arrondissement.

Fromagerie Hardouin-Langlet 6 Place Aligre, in the 12th arrondissement.

La Fromagerie d’Auteuil, 58 Rue Auteuil, in the 16th arrondissement.

Martine Dubois et Fils, 80 rue de Tocqueville, in the 17th arrondissement.

Chez Virginie, 54 rue Damrémont, in the 18th arrondissement.

Fromagerie Lévis, 43 rue de Levis, in the 17th arrondissement, pictured below.



THE CHEESE: Tomme de Jura

Tomme de Jura, from the Franche-Comte, is a mountain cow cheese, and make no mistake about it. It's got that sweet-sour taste that so many of the Alpine cow cheeses have, and you can taste the herbs and grassiness. My friend Sarah calls the flavor "yeasty", and I see what she means. I've heard the flavors described as caramel and vanilla, as well as fruit.


Though it's a hard cheese, the texture  -- when you get the cheese and not the big holes -- is wonderfully creamy as it melts in the mouth. It's made in 3,000 liter copper tanks, then aged between 2-4 months.

THE CONNECTION:
 
I taste this Tomme de Jura at Laurent Dubois, my favorite neighborhood cheese shop at Place Maubert in the 5th. Hooray for free samples! Not the only reason I love this store so much, but given the number of cheeses I need to try, it sure helps.

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