Along with wine and chocolate, cheese undergoes a curious transformation when paired with other ingredients like fresh fruit or indulgent cuts of meat. Playing with those flavors is what Tonda Carrente, the founder and owner of La Femme du Fromage, explores in her small-but-mighty cheese shop in Orlando, Florida.
“Perfect pairing is at the center of what we do,” Carrente says. She sustains that theme throughout her menu—which includes Grilled Cheese Bloody Marys, a daily mac and cheese variation, and a full menu of cheese and charcuterie boards—as well as through her classes, with themes ranging from Cheese 101 to wine, cheese, and chocolate pairings in partnership with local vineyards and chocolatiers.
Over its five years, La Femme du Fromage has grown by leaps and bounds, from selling out tasting seminars to being featured at the Disney Food & Wine Festival. The shop also hosts events for National Cheese Lovers’ Day and Bastille Day, throws Raclette parties, and more. Simply put, La Femme du Fromage is “always looking for a reason to celebrate,” says Carrente.
culture: What’s the strangest request you’ve gotten from a customer?
Tonda Carrente: I was told by one customer that if I made her my Smokey Blue Potato Gratin, she would give me her house! It’s that good.
culture: Do you have a sentimental attachment to any cheese?
TC: Rogue River Blue—it comes out on my birthday each year. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving.
culture: What is a common misconception about cheese?
TC: “It’s got a bloomy rind, it must be Brie.”
culture: What’s your favorite cheese pairing?
TC: Fenugreek gouda, Pedaler’s Hard Cider, and a white chocolate-dipped Ritz peanut butter sandwich.
3201 Corrine Dr. Orlando, FL
Mon.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.