by Olivia Estrada – Contributor
In June, the weather in Europe is perfect if you want to go for an afternoon drive through the French countryside. Last month, I was lucky enough to be in Basel, an hour away from Fromagerie Antony
Fromagerie Antony is found in Alsace, France. If you’re looking for a real French experience to cheese, skip Paris. This is where you need to go.
Fromagerie Antony is where the world’s best cheeses are matured. In 1986, the cheese house started welcoming guests.
Bernard Antony, who started the fromagerie, and his son, Jean-François cater to 19 Michelin star restaurants all over the globe, from Paris to Hong Kong.
The cheese house also serves various royals like The Archduke of Austria Otto von Habsburg and Prince Albert of Monaco.
In one interview, Bernard also considers Mikhail Gorbachev, the former general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, a favorite client.
Before visiting Fromagerie Antony, you simply must call to make a reservation. You have a choice to try their Tasting Session or their four-hour In Celebration of Cheese. The latter costs 75 EUR (around 4,200 PHP) per head. Combined with wine and dessert, it can go up to 160 EUR (around 9,000 PHP).
I tried the Tasting Session which is just 18EUR (around 1,000 PHP) and this includes a basket of freshly-baked bread and a plate with a selection of nine kinds of cheese.
I was lucky that when I visited, Jean-Francois was the one who attended to me. First, he led me to a small, cavernous room with only three tables. The scent of cheese was thick and intoxicating. Be prepared to smell like a cheddar round when you’re done eating.
Books on cheese, photographs of magazine features, along with various mementos from the conventions, events, and occasions that the fromagerie has catered fill the shelves in the room. I spotted Bernard’s staff ID card for the World Economic Forum.
Jean-François then took our beverage orders. You can opt to have wine for an additional cost or just a bottle of water.
Without much delay, he then came with the cheese plates and a handwritten card indicating the names of the cheeses.
He told us that the best way to taste the cheese is to start from the six-o’clock position, working your way clockwise from there. You take your palette on a journey from mild cheeses slowly to strong-flavored varieties when you do so.
I took a bite of each cheese first before I settled on finishing the ones I favored the most.
One of my favorites was the one found at the 12-noon position. It’s a brie so rich and creamy that I’m frustrated that words can’t quite translate taste. I also liked the blue cheese which is at the middle of the plate. Haven’t tried and may never try anything like it in my life. Unless I go back to Fromagerie Antony, of course.
I found the hard cheeses very bold in flavor. They reminded me of salted pork so it’s quite a different treat. It will definitely expand your palette when it comes to cheese.
After your tasting session, I wanted to buy some cheese, which you can do right after your tasting session. I just didn’t bother as any of the cheeses would survive a plane ride back to the Philippines.
No worries, though. It’s a reason to go back!