Welcome to our on-line LA FROMAGERIE cheeseroom showcasing our farmhouse & artisanal cheeses. Due to seasonality of cheeses, and working with smaller producers, some of these cheeses are available in our shop only during certain times of the year, so please CONTACT us if you are looking for a particular cheese. Otherwise, browse ALL OF OUR CHEESES A-Z or select from the list below to view by location of origin.
The story of LA FROMAGERIE begins with a wheel of BEAUFORT CHALET D'ALPAGE; 27 years later and with over 100 French cheeses in our library, France is still an excellent place to start exploring cheese. In France, more so than possibly anywhere else, the variety of terroir - that magical combination of local terrain, altitude, soil and climate - accounts for the great diversity of the cheese. Some French cheeses are only sold locally, and many have their own distinctive characteristics; for instance, some are wrapped in leaves, while others are thickly coated in herbs, or washed in brine or alcohol. The names of many cheeses tie them to and can indicate the village or particular hill or mountain where they are made. From the caves of Combalou to the Mountains of Savoie, learn about the connection between place and product as you explore our selection of cheese from this fantastic country.
Though cheesemaking in Italy may date back to as early as 2800 BC, the unification of the country didn't occur until the 1860s and the individuality of the regions and the diversity among their cheese is still very strong in Italy today. With over four hundred distinct cheeses and thirty-one DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) zones, Italy is a fine example of the variety of time-honoured traditions in the cheesemaking process. Spanning from the foothills of the Alps in Piemonte to the alluvial soil of Etna in Sicily, we have over 50 Italian cheeses in our library. From MOZZARELLA DI BUFALA to RAGUSANO, from TALEGGIO DI VAL BREMBANA to GORGONZOLA NATURALE, there is much to offer in range of styles as well as textures and flavours.
back to top
In the 11th century the Norman Conquest had a major impact on life in Britain. It brought far-reaching changes, and it was during this period that the religious order of Jervalux monks came from Normandy and Flandres to Britain, brining with them a tradition of sheep farming and cheesemaking (they are widely acknowledged as the original makers of Wenslydale cheese). Today there are hundreds of cheeses in the British Isles and we are in the midst of an exciting cheese movement that has not been seen since the Industrial Revolution. Britain may be small in comparison to other countries and continents, and we may not have the extremes in temperature to produce different styles of cheese, but we do have a vast amount of quality that is highly defined, and more and more in recent years, recognised as being worthy of greatness. From the earthy taste and fudgey texture of Innes Dairy's BOSWORTH ASH LOG to the buttery, nutty flavours of Welsh HAFOD, to newer cheeses such as BARON BIGOD and ROLLRIGHT, explore the wealth of cheeses from the British Isles.
Switzerland is a landlocked county surrounded by high mountains, but these craggy cliff faces allow for a temperate climate, which is probably the most satisfactory condition in which to make cheese. Mountains have pure water systems trickling down into the valleys and valuable minerals that feed the soil. This partially explains why cheeses like EMMENTHAL SUISSE are so delicious, especially when they are made high up in the hills during the summer months. From the 13th century onwards, grazing rights and animal rights-of-way have been complex and have led to the eventual privatisation of communal grazing land, driving many cheesemakers to other European plains and oversees to America and Australia. For many generations the right to use an Alp has been handed down within the family and is owned by a single family or two families of an Alp co-operative. All the Alps are 'geyser', meaning that only a certain number of cows or other animals are allowed to graze during the summer in order to protect the land.
back to top
Renowned for its high quality dairy, pristine grazing lands and clean air, coupled with a temperate climate, especially in the southern part of the country, Ireland is a natural destination for artisan cheesemaking. In fact, in traditional Irish culture, dairy cattle were seen as a measure of wealth and social standing and were often used as a form of currency. By the seventeenth century, however, oppressive English laws had effectively killed the Gaelic farm economy and with it, the traditional cheesemaking culture. Butter became the means by which small farmers paid rent, and also became a sought after in international trade. It wasn't until the early 20th century that cheesemaking reappeared, with slow growth until the 1970s when a greater number of farmhouse cheesemakers, especially focused in the southwest part of the country, began experimenting. This style of small, hand-made production continues to be a defining feature in the diverse range and exceptional quality of Irish farmhouse cheeses. We recommend beginning with a few of our favourites: CASHEL BLUE, DURRUS and COOLEA.
Spain was slow to develop a modern approach to agriculture, and unfortunately the Civil and World Wars intervened up until the 1950s. Following this, changes started to happen, albeit slowly until 1975 when a more open attitude to farming and cheesemaking communities became possible. Hardship may have existed but the farmers and cheesemakers have held onto their cheesemaking traditions to produce such a diverse range of cheese throughout the country. In Spain the biggest rainfalls happen twice a year and the summers are exceedingly hot causing droughts - these extremes are reflected in the styles and flavours of the cheeses in tune with their terrain.
The northern and western coastal regions and valleys have cows grazing with some mixed farming, while the hills and mountain areas concentrate on goats and sheep. The cheeses from the northern regions are of differing textures and styles, while the more dry, arid and mountainous areas of the west and Canary Islands tend toward goat's and ewe's milk cheeses with strong, spicy flavours. From PICOS DE EUROPA from León to Catalonian GARROTXA to MANCHEGO from La Mancha, discover Spain's diverse range of cheese.
Protecting land from flooding has always been a priority in the Netherlands. Reclaimed marshy areas demonstrate how the land can be managed and adapted for dairy farming and agriculture and cheese plays a huge part in the country's economy. Gouda accounts for about 50 percent of the cheese production in the Netherlands and is done on a huge commercial scale, however we work with smaller producers who ensure the hands-on production and slow ageing of the cheese. Most notable is the 4 YEAR GOUDA BOERENKAAS, an extra mature version of the 2 YEAR BOERENKAAS. We import directly from small farms, allowing optimal control over quality, which we feel is the highest among goudas. While the Netherlands does not produce a vast array of styles like France or Italy, somehow the cheeses through their shapes and flavours give you an instant snapshot of the places, the people and their cuisines.
Portugal is split by its major river, the Tagus, which creates a clear demarcation of the landscape as the northern terrain is mountainous where rivers course through the valleys, and the south features a rolling landscape of plains and hills and a hotter, drier climate. The summer weather in the mountainous areas is very arid and blazingly hot with the animals huddling under what trees or bushy shelter there is for shade. The islands of Azores and Madeira, however have a cooler microclimate with their position in the Atlantic, and they produce fine cheeses as well as the famous dessert wine. Additionally, in volcanic areas the soil composition where grazing occurs is rich in minerals, giving a really interesting structure to the milk. From the nuttiness of SÃO JORGE to the spiciness of EVORA, the cheeses of Portugal have their own distinct flavours and textures and are certainly worth exploring alongside a glass of the area's fortified wine.
Austria's location amongst the Alps has long influenced their milk and cheese production with the practice of housing the dairy cows in the valleys in winter and then moving them up to higher plains during the spring and summer months. When compared to other Alpine countries, Austria's cheese-producing area is really focused mainly in Vorarlberg, in the western-most part of the country adjacent to Switzerland. Bregenzerwald, a high mountain area in Vorarlberg and where we source our ALP BERGKAESE, is the most active cheese-producing area in Austria and its three-step-agriculture process has been submitted to UNESCO as a world heritage site.
From the north to the south, Germany is a cheese country. A third of the production is exported and influences from neighbouring countries have resulted in a diversity of cheese styles that have associations with nearby countries. For instance, LIMBURGER is related to both the Netherlands and the Belgian Herve and BAVARIAN BLUE, the most wonderfully indulgent blue, is similar to Italian Gorgonzola. Monasteries were instrumental in creating the cheese recipes, as well as the beers, and cheeses with a washed rind are typical.
Countries in Scandinavia have long cheesemaking traditions. In Scandinavia, the climate is very varied, ranging from typical western European weather for Denmark and southern Sweden and along the west coast of Norway, to humid continental weather from Oslo to Stockholm in the centre, to subarctic conditions further north. The areas with dairy farming have perfect grazing conditions and very clean air giving the grass a sweetness that is reflected in the milk and the cheese. From a true farmhouse Norwegian GEITOST to the fascinating history of WRÅNGEBÄCKSOST, explore a selection of cheeses from Scandinavia.
There is a cheese revolution taking place in America: a pastoral movement where a spirit is rippling through an already substantial cheesemaking tradition. These new American cheesemakers have a definite entreprenuerial mindset - some have left the fast lane to return to their country roots, others just want to get back to the land and see what nature provides. To look at American cheeses, it is interesting to look at the history of its settlers: along the West Coast many settlers were Italian and Hispanic, while the Midwest was settled by the Germans, Scandinavians, Norwegians, Dutch, Welsh and Cornish. The East Coast on the other hand was mostly settled by British, French, Dutch as well as the Amish, Greeks, Armenians, Eastern Europeans and Italians. When these settlers arrived they brought their cultures with them, including traditions of cheesemaking, and the result is a vast array of styles with influences from all over. From MOSES SLEEPER to ROGUE RIVER BLUE to PLEASANT RIDGE RESERVE, discover the diverse selection of these new American cheeses. Due to the natural difficulties in shipping across the Atlantic, we can import only a selection of American cheeses at certain times of the year.