We met Jean-François Deu walking down the rustic cobblestone in Collioure. The head of Domaine du Traginer had invited us to visit his nine hectares of vineyards in Banyuls-sur-Mer, and he warmly greeted us in front of one of the quaint Catalan eateries overlooking the Mediterranean. Collioure is a picturesque fishing town with a rich surrounding Continue Reading »
This past fall, Ihsan, Valerie and I spent a rainy week in October traveling through southern Gascony and the Pays Basque region of southwestern France. Following the mountains along the French and Spanish border, the narrow, curvy roads passed through shady forested nooks, over cold rivers and around very steep green hills dotted with fluffy Continue Reading »
We recently began working with Joseph Paccard, a new affineur from Savoie, France. Located in the village of Manigod, Paccard carefully selects the farms he works with and develops close relationships with cheesemakers. This means the cheeses we receive are of an exceptionally high standard. All of the cheese Paccard sells and ages is “fermier,” Continue Reading »
In addition to the years spent developing an understanding of the nuances of fine cheeses, there are relationships to consider, and hundreds of cheeses to taste. We regularly send mongers to visit producers in Jura, France, where they personally select the next batch of cheeses that will be sold here and in our stores. At Continue Reading »
Following a formal introduction to affineur Pascal Beillevaire, Ihsan selected a variety of Pascal’s cheeses for import to the US. He had a good feeling because Pascal had deep roots in the farming world but was also a clear-headed businessman. That first import was a way to test the waters of a new relationship to Continue Reading »
Kurt, Mary and I left Pontarlier early on a Tuesday morning, headed to the Savoie and to our friends at Joseph Paccard. After some initial craziness picking up our guide, Celine Viguier, on the side of the highway, we were well on our way to glory. This leg of our trip gave us an opportunity Continue Reading »
A trip through the French Basque country is one of distinct sights, scents, and flavors. Rolling hills of green pastures are punctuated by craggy mountain peaks and deep valleys, and sheep are everywhere!
A delicate, understated Savoie white from Gilles Berlioz, made of 100% Jacquère, is the perfect compliment to one of my favorite aged Sardinian goat’s milk cheeses, Pantaleo. Coupled with some thin slices of exuberantly tart kumquats, I get all the sunshine and scents I need to make it through the deep-freeze of winter.
Landing in Geneva, our first day began auspiciously with 65°F blue skies and a new convertible (our reserved sedan was unavailable) to drive us west into the Jura.
The Chartogne-Taillet winery is located in the Champagne region of France in the town of Merfy. They are the only récoltant-manipulant in the town, meaning that they are the only winery that grows their own grapes.
Sainte-Maures have been made for over 1,000 years and the cheeses made in the Touraine region (known as Sainte-Maure de Touraine) are particularly well known and were granted AOC status in 1990. Touraine was broken up across different communes when French government departments were reorganized and, as a result, the geographical area of the appellation includes the department of Indre-et-Loire and the neighboring cantons of Loir-et-Cher, Indre and Vienne.
It’s sad to say, but farmstead cheeses are disappearing in France. This is why I feel compelled to highlight the last remaining producer of Persillé de Tignes and to share my love of this cheese.