Toujours Paris

Goat Cheese with olives

America’s cheese merchants have never been more knowledgeable or numerous, but for me, Paris still sets the bar. With only three days to spend there in June, I didn’t make the grand rounds, but I did find a few shops that were new to me and thrilling to visit. File these addresses for the next time fortune brings you to France.

Au Coeur du Marché
28 rue d’Aligre

I stumbled on this well-stocked shop while exploring the bustling Marché d’Aligre, a daily (except Monday) outdoor market that occupies several blocks of a lively retail street. The cheeses are international, and the goat cheese selection is especially strong. If I were a cheesemaker, I would copy the charming Olivia, a fresh goat disk studded with chopped black olives and accessorized with an olive sprig (pictured above). With crostini and a glass of rosé, a perfect hors d’oeuvre.

62 rue de Sèvres

Is this the most tantalizing cheese shop ever? I nominate it.  The huge inventory is deep in washed-rind cheeses (why offer one Epoisses when you can stock three?), Loire Valley goat disks and alpine wheels, including a three-year-old Comté. Shimmering fruit jams in unusual flavors, pâtes de fruits (fruit jellies) in gemstone colors and a wine selection long on Alsatian whites convinced me that Quatrehomme would suck up a lot of my income if I lived in Paris. Another idea to borrow: the bar of cheese dips and spreads, including fromage blanc with roasted red peppers and another alluring version with cucumbers.

133 rue Saint-Charles

I’ve been a fan of Pascal Beillevaire, the French cheese maker, merchant and affineur, since he began shipping his cheeses to the Bay Area a few years ago. The sheep’s milk Tomme Brulée, washed-rind Secret du Couvent, and the cow’s-milk Vendéen Bichonné from Brittany are among the gems Beillevaire either makes or matures. This shop was his first—he now has a small chain in France—and although it is not large, it carries several of the Beillevaire creamery’s own inventions, like the walnut liqueur-washed Brun de Noix. Fabulous Beillevaire butter, too.