French cheese to please a global palate
Fromages.com has been shipping French cheeses across the world for 18 years. Brie, Camembert, Tomme de Savoie and goat’s cheese, amongst others, are FedExed as far as North America, Japan, Singapore, South Africa and Australia. Managing director Marc Refabert founded the online shop in 1997 with no previous experience of selling cheese.
TEXT: LIDIJA LIEGIS | PHOTOS: FROMAGES.COM
The idea came about as he chatted in a Paris brasserie with his friend and eventual co-founder David Nutt. Nutt was travelling to the United States and took with him a selection of French cheeses for his American friends. They realised that there must be an easier way to deliver cheese to the US and thus was born the idea for fromages.com. The site is dedicated to cheese lovers everywhere: from its headquarters in Tours in the Loire Valley, it is able to deliver French cheeses to all major cities in the US and Europe in 24 hours or between 48 and 72 hours to Asia and beyond. For those unable to narrow down their choices, or for first-time buyers of French cheese, Refabert recommends ordering a cheese board. This has a selection of between four and 12 different cheeses, with availability dependent on the season. The founder suggests ordering a mixture of goats, cow and sheep milk cheeses.
The hardest thing about selling cheese online, says Refabert, is the fact that unlike going into a cheesemonger, you cannot smell or taste any of the cheeses. “I love the choice and the selection of cheeses but it’s difficult to describe and to try to sell my favourite cheeses online. People have to choose based on the look of a cheese.” A highlight of his job is the artisanal cheese producers he works with locally. He praises them as “truly honest, extraordinary people who fight to make quality products”.
On the day of delivery, the cheeses have to be at the peak of their maturity with some margin for travel, therefore isothermal packaging keeps the cheeses fresh. Once your order has arrived, as a rough guide, soft cheeses should be eaten within four to six days; goat’s cheese should be eaten within eight to ten days; and hard cheeses should be eaten within 15 days.