Despite consuming vast amounts of cheese at San Francisco’s Fancy Food Show last week, I couldn’t resist signing up for Betty Koster’s class about cheese and tea pairing held at The Cheese School of San Francisco last Wednesday evening.
Betty and her husband Martin are proprietors of Fromagerie l’Amuse a business consisting of two cheese stores and an affineur operation located in the Netherlands. They have been at the forefront of raising the bar in terms of working with Dutch cheesemakers to improve existing recipes as well as encouraging the creation of new ones.
In addition to being an expert on Dutch cheeses, Betty has recently delved into the intriguing world of tea and cheese pairing which (hooray) turns out to be both fascinating and good for you.
I was interested to read the recent listing in the WSJ of their top ten cheese shops. Somewhat surprisingly, every single one is located in Europe, which I can’t help feeling shows remarkable lack of imagination, let alone knowledge of some of the fantastic cheese stores also to be found in the US, many of which have been in operation for well over a decade. (Mental note here to compile a list of my own.)
Although I haven’t been to all the cheese shops in the WSJ (give me time!), I do know a few of them and worked for several years at one of them. So here’s my personal run-down of some of those mentioned. For Poncelet in Madrid, we wrote a piece about their store in the June 2009 issue of culture. You can read the article here http://culturecheesemag.com/poncelet_madrid
L’Amuse - Netherlands