"Un repas sans fromage est une belle à qui il manque un œil". ("A meal without cheese is like a beauty who is missing an eye"). So wrote the epicure and gastronome, Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who died in 1826. It's a sentiment that I agree with completely! One of the great pleasures of being here in France is to indulge every day in the never-ending choices that you find in your local fromagerie. My neighborhood cheese shop, La Fermette, is wonderful, but sometimes it's fun to go to the other side of town and take a look at what else is out there.
And a chance to accompany Debbi Baron -- cheese maven extraordinaire -- and a group of AWG chums on a tour of Griffon, in the 7th arr. was not to be missed. Griffon opened its doors in 2012, under the guidance and ownership of Claire Griffon. By 2015, the French magazine, L'Express, named it one of the ten best cheese shops in Paris. In 2016, Claire Griffon was awarded "Fromager of the Year" by the gastronomical guide, Pudlo.
Looking through the window from the street, you might be forgiven for thinking it is just a small, narrow shop, with shelves running down one side, and more displays at the end and on the right hand side. But looks can be deceptive, as we were about to find out.
Madame Griffon is on leave with a new baby, but there were several young members of her staff on hand to talk with us. Some were busy bringing cheeses up from the caves, where they had been stored Sunday and Monday, when the shop is closed.
We learned about the "spécialités de la maison", where Claire Griffon adds ingredients to an existing cheese. Here, she has soaked softly stewed apples in Calvados, then made a sandwich of two small rounds of Camembert de Normandie.
...the second tray offered Comté, Tomme de Brebis, and Nougat de Vieux Gouda. Yum!!
Oh, and you should use a separate knife for each cheese, so the flavors don't get confused. And don't crowd your cheese plate. And always have an odd number of cheeses on the board!! L'étiquette, toujours l'étiquette!
As we wrapped up our tour, I took a look around at some of the other goodies being offered...
...delicious, crisp wafers, cute little jars of confits...
...the world's best butter from Brittany...
(Many thanks to Lynn Loring for several of these photos)
Here's a link to some other Paris delights: