Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

PRODUCTS: The Cheese Man

I would like to think that the Cheese Man is my own secret discovery, but I am afraid that he's not. He's already been profiled in the L.A. Times and that makes him pretty much famous in my book.

Nonetheless, I want to add my voice to the throng. I had Monday off this week, which was fun while it lasted, but has now resulted in my having to attempt to do five days of work in three days. But it also resulted in me getting to go to the West Hollywood Farmer's Market and meet Laurent Bonjour, the magnifique frommagier. The West Hollywood market is (barely) in walking distance from where I live, but is on Mondays, so I usually don't get to go.

I had just gone the previous day, so I actually didn't need to get anything, so I thought my only purchase would be the delicious strawberry juice I drank to cool myself down. But then, J. got a baguette. And the baguette stand happened to be next to this cheese cart manned by a wonderfully French person. So I stood there eyeing the list of cheeses so hard while J. picked out his bread, that I am surprised I didn't knock the sign over. Suddenly, I was standing in front of the cheeses inspecting them in person. I really don't know how it happened. I think the cheeses teleported me.

And then this wonderfully French man was speaking to me in his wonderfully French accent and I think I probably already knew that I was going to buy some cheese, but I didn't want to be obvious about it.

So I waited until J. came over with his baguette. "Look at all these cheeses!" I said, noncommittally. "They're so pretty!"

"Do you want to get some?" he said. He knows me.

"I don't know, what do you think?" Because I know I should not be buying cheese. Especially not with that baguette so dangerously close. I should be buying vegetables. Lots of vegetables. I need someone to tell me it's okay and to reassure me that they are going to help me eat it.

"Well, we do have this bread, now." That's all I need.

"How about something soft?" And like magic, the wonderfully French man slides open the cart and pulls out a cheese and hands it to me. Brillat-Savarin. The King of all cheeses.

"Well, this is named after a good guy," I say.

"Oh, you know him?" he says.

We talk about Brillat-Savarin for a minute. I buy the cheese.

He tells us to let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before eating it. He also tells us to pair the cheese with champagne, because the king of cheeses must have only the best, and, he says to J. "your lady must have only the best." Right on, cheese man. Je t'aime!

The cheese? It was brilliant. It was incredibly creamy and it tasted almost like Laughing Cow except like a thousand times better. Like the platonic ideal of a Laughing Cow cheese. We didn't have champagne, sadly. But we paired it with a South African Petit Chenin that did the trick nicely, thanks.

Laurent Bonjour is at the Larchmont Farmer's Market on Sundays. I may have to--ohmygod--drive somewhere for a change.

He also has a website, but be warned. It is not easy on the eye, and a tad hard to navigate. But you can find out where he is from day to day. HINT: The links at the top of the main page do not work. You have to get down to the links in between the second big C and the big L to get somewhere.

2 comments:

Three words:

Pierre
Robert
Rouzaire

You will want to make love to this cheese. The other one I love is bouchon/boucheron/boo-something-or-other which I'm forgetting right now.

When wade comes back from Thailand/Vietnam, we can all go to the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills and flirt with Norbert. Well, wade probably won't be flirting with Norbert but hell you never know.

(you know milla who knows wade who is my friend and business partner, so you & I are practically related, right?)

It could be a fun co-blog outing!

said by JoAnna at 5:16 PM Delete

How crazy! It's a small blogging world! I do know milla ... and I read your blog all the time!

I will go to any cheese store, any time. I will try not to make out with the cheese.

That Pierre, etc. cheese sounds ... wow. Apparently it is the Brillat-Savarin taken to the next level. Oh my!

said by KT at 5:28 PM Delete

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