Regretfully, this will be my last weekly article for Apartment Therapy. Though I have loved writing for The Kitchen, additional responsibilities for my job at Cobblestone Foods have made writing a weekly cheese article simply impossible. I will continue to answer your fromage-related questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to commemorate my last article, I'm deviating from the normal cheese review to devote time to two subjects I have been meaning to writing about: Parisian fromageries and cheese literature.
It is a well-known fact that Paris is full of fromageries. It could even be called the cheese capital, except for the fact that most shops carry almost exclusively French cheeses. Fromageries are abundant, but not all are created the same.
I found two distinct categories. The first is your everyday shop that carries all the basic cheeses, but really, nothing too exciting (kind of like your grocery store's cheese selection, if it happened to include cheeses like Selles Sur Cher). The other type offers something a bit more high end, and many have their own caves and affineurs on site. These finer shops take great pride in offering a premium selection of cheeses, most of which are fermier (farmstead) and smaller production. As an interesting linguistic note, I also found that while most shops in Paris use informal French, fromageres are proud people and use formal greetings. A few of my favorite fromageries are detailed below.
Androuët (rue de Verneuil, 7th arr.)
A very small shop located near the Musée d'Orsay. They had an extensive selection of goat cheeses, as well as the basic accompaniments. With perhaps the most organized signage of any shop I visited (listing the name, type of milk, and town of origin), they were a pleasure to visit. Prices were slightly higher than what you'd find elsewhere, but still quite fair. They also had a few tasty bottles of cidre on the shelf. They have six locations throughout Paris, but I only visited the one in the 7th.
Fromagerie Barthélémy (51, rue de Grenelle, 6th arr.)
As a contributing writer to various books on cheese, as well as his own "Guide to Cheeses of the World", Roland Barthélémy knows more than a few things about fromage, and it shows in his tiny, but stocked to the gills shop. This was probably one of the few times I was simply overwhelmed. Everything was in peak condition and I wanted to take it all home with me! The staff was very friendly and, discovering I was American, vaccum sealed my whole purchase for me. The main floor was dedicated solely to cheese, while the upper shelves housed a few cheese-related items.
Marie-Anne Cantin (12, rue du Champ de Mars, 7th arr.)
Marie-Anne Cantin was probably the most quiet and reserved cheese shop we visited. Unlike the others, who were bustling with people, they were completely empty the whole time we were there. Cheeses were well organized the fromager was quick to help (though I had the impression he was staring at us the whole time). Very clean and refined, though a little standoff-ish.
Fromagerie Pascal Beillevaire (1, rue Marsoulan, 12th arr)
I only recently discovered that Beiellevaire, whose cheese I reviewed last week, has a shop in Paris. Though I've not been there myself, I would definitely make the trip next time and would love to hear from any out there who might have visited.
So what are your favorite Paris fromageries? Though I visited many more than I listed, I'd love to hear what you think the best shops in the city are!