Cover image: Cheese Board © Kaori Mahajan for WhereNYC
Review: “The purpose isn’t just to sell cheese, the French Cheese Board is to promote and answer questions from the public,” said one of the girls buttering slices of baguette with salted beurre from Paysan Breton. Its texture was a perfect mélange of creamy butter and tiny crunchy salt crystals, yet perfectly balanced in flavor.
Since 2014, the French Cheese Board has won the hearts of New Yorkers with popup sales and exclusive pairing events that have brought excitement and inventiveness to French cheese. With competition from other European countries and American artisanal cheesemakers, especially from Northeastern United states, the French Cheese Board has continually reinvented itself as a cheeselab and lifestyle trendsetter. Daring chocolate and Japanese tea pairings with cheese and experimental food art events have both challenged and delighted our senses in unimaginable ways.
The shop in SoHo had the usual suspects of cheese heaven: Slabs of raclette stacked like gold bars and mountains of brie, Cantal, Petit Basque and Bleu d’Auvergne displayed nicely as guests streamed in. And of course, there was the golden Rolls Royce of them all, Mimolette – normally retailing at about $35 a pound at Murray’s Cheeseshop. Today, orange slices like fruit from the gods adorned a mini shrine ready taste. All of the cheeses were generously portioned, with few exceeding $5.
There were exciting newcomers amid the selection of French cheeses. The Fromager d’Affinois Poivron et Piment was an unexpected treat. Zesty, vibrant and with a hint of bell pepper sweetness and chili heat, it would make the perfect showstopper on a holiday cheeseboard. The second was a light, creamy Fromage Frais flavored with Mirabelle fruits. Just imagine, the lightest, creamiest yogurt with a golden plum sweetness. It made the sale all the more special.
Unfortunately, the word had not gotten out about the sale. Except for a tweet, there was little mention elsewhere of the event. And where were the “sippings” that the Cheese Board had advertised on Twitter? There wasn’t any wine offered like before.
Gripes aside, the popup sale featured a wider variety of cheeses with delicious, new flavor combinations, proving once again the versatility and daringness of traditional French Cheese.