The Bottom Line: The French Cheese Board is back with an even quirkier concept with its cheese sculptures, library of books and cheesy décor. The reception. although very enjoyable, was packed to the brim turning it into a traffic jam as people queued for free wine and savored hors d’œuvres.
Review: It was never going to be empty. The much publicized re-opening of the French Cheese Board at its new home in Soho sent a thousand tongues wagging. When we arrived just before 6:30pm, the place was already full.
Our first stop was to visit the map of France and pose holding the name of our favorite cheese.
I couldn’t resist a picture with the Brillat Savirin plaque , not only because its delicious taste, but for the 19th century writer, a hero of mine, who inspired its name. I was suprised to see many gals choose smelly Epoisse as their favorite photo-op prop, but who can argue with a girl who likes stinky cheese.
The hors d’œuvres served on trays were absolutely delicious, but the crowd of hungry foodies meant you only had seconds before everything was snapped away.
Oddly, it seemed like most of the cheese samples disappeared, but happily, the servers brought more canapés and delightful nibbles that continued to satiate our appetites.
The selection of wine, particularly the champagne, worked well with the beautifully prepared cocktail bites. Our favorites included:
It is curious why the French Cheese Board had even left its south of Bryant Park location and settled deep in Soho.
Not everything will change. The new concept store will still continue to host its pop-up shop, give classes, art receptions and mingles, although its primary purpose as French cheese ambassador, or Le Grand Fromage, will remain unchanged.
What’s new however, is the addition of tableware and cutleries from the likes of Caroline Gomez and Christian Ghion. The shop also now sells Hedene honey, jams and other chutneys from l’Epicurean that the public can buy.
The décor of cheese maps and informative diagrams created by Ich&Kar is also a departure from the previous makeshift, minimaliste style of the Board’s former home.
The new look is both homely and stylish. Imagine you’ve just walked into a posh study.
As was explained to me, the concept store will serve as a conduit to help draw the public into its cheese culture, offering interactive cheese and pairing lessons. It is almost like a cheese lifestyle center, where people are invited to partake, a concept similar to the Barnyard Collective in Queens.
The tremendous turn out also meant longer lines to get some wine and cramped spacing. In the end, it was hard to find a corner and mingle.
Nevertheless, people stayed and chatted over a glass of wine while marveling at the cheese sculptures in the back of the shop.
For more information on upcoming events. Check out the French Cheese Board .