london calling (part three)
Some of the best conversations are the ones that tumble and jump across numerous topics, flowing at a steady pace, rooted in a calm and comfortable comprehension of the people you are chatting with. Camped out in the cellar of Ducksoup, eagerly catching up over dinner, four of us tripped our way from one subject to the next and landed firmly, for a while at least, in the depths of a discussion about local restaurants. My love of Marylebone High Street a long-established and unspoken truth, one of our dining companions almost jumped across the table in his enthusiasm to recommend one spot: La Fromagerie.
To say it is a restaurant is a bit of a mischaracterization. At first glance it is a market, one heavily weighted towards cheese (unsurprisingly). After a moment’s further inspection it expands into a cafe, with farm-style tables and stools lining a small dining space in the back. To anyone, however, who loves freshly picked berries, crusty bread straight from the oven, and a seemingly limitless variety of cheeses to sample, La Fromagerie might just be one of the most enthralling of spots.
Produce locally sourced, homemade jams and chutneys, freshly baked confections, and a cultivated selection of chocolates and sweets – I circled and circled the tiny marketplace eager to sample the lot and crestfallen that, hotel-bound, we didn’t have a kitchen handy for cooking. But we were hardly going to depart without sampling the goods. And that is where the tasting cafe comes in so very handy. With breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea all on offer it is difficult to depart without satisfying yourself with some sort of sustenance. And so we settled in for some cheese.
Collected into regional samplings, you can select from a French board, Italian board, or one culled slightly closer to home – Great Britain and Ireland. (Or you can put yourself in the hands of the establishment and allow them to select the day’s recommendations from the cheese room.) With a summer shower pelting the skylights above we thought we’d embrace our surroundings and go for the British and Irish cheese board. Innes Buttons goat cheese from Statfield, waterloo cow’s milk cheese from Berkshire, Keen’s Farmhouse cheddar from Somerset, creamy Durrus from Cork, and Cashel Blue from Devon. The selection arrived at the table and, between sips of [very un-British] prosecco, we savored the bite of the blue, the smooth spread of the goat, and had a generally grand time filling ourselves with crackers laden with Durrus. Really, how could we not?
Of particular note: Curious about the cheeses on offer? Want to whet your appetite or are you seeking some inspiration for your own cheese tasting? You can explore La Fromagerie’s cheese room online. Choose a animal, cheese type, or country of origin and let the fun – and cravings – begin.