A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Tenaya Darlington, aka Madame Fromage. We instantly connected and started to email back and forward, sharing thoughts and ideas around cheese. Compared to most cheese lovers (including me), she is an expert and has for the last 5 years kept records of cheeses that she tastes & eats, smells or just overheard when visiting a cheese shop.
In 2011 she started her website Madame Fromage where she shares her thoughts and stories about cheese. For example it can be a post about specific cheeses with pairings, study visits, traveling reports or even tips on how to talk to a cheesemonger etc.
Tenaya knows how to tell a story, so for me its not a surprise that she also is an associate professor in English and teaches writing classes at the Department of English at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
In May 2013 her cheese book, Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes and Pairings was published by Running Press. I think this book, with 170 cheese profiles, 30 recipes, and 10 themed cheese boards, is a mouth watering treasure. Tenaya’s storytelling skills really comes out in the book. It is well written and inspiring. It makes me smile and I want to draw everything. Di Bruno Bros. is a well known cheese shop in Philadelphia, opened in 1939 by the two brothers Danny and Joe. The book is tastefully photographed by Jason Varney. House of Cheese is Tenaya’s third book, she has published poetry and one novel before.
So when I heard that Tenaya had a cheese cave at her office desk I instantly wanted to draw it. And to draw all the different kinds of cheeses was great fun… so now I can’t stop!
The cheeses and the desk are available as posters in the SHOP.
How to Turn Your Desk Into a Cheese Board
By Madame Fromage
At work, it can be nice to break for a spot of cheese. Clear the clutter, spread a tea towel, and set out a cutting board. Then reach into your secret desk drawer that is stocked with crackers and preserves, and set out an array of snacks. You can surprise your office mates with a spontaneous party (on someone’s birthday, say) or make it a private affair while you read a book over the lunch hour.
After all, there is nothing lovelier than kicking off your shoes, putting your feet up on the radiator, and enjoying a hunk of Cheddar with almonds and honey on a rainy afternoon. A cheese board makes a perfect lunch, and if you stock your desk pantry well, you’ll never have to remember to pack leftovers.
What To Stock in A Desk Pantry
• Small wood cutting board
• Set of cheese knives or a paring knife + small spoon
• Tea towel+cloth napkin(s)
• Nuts: almonds, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, or walnuts
• Dried fruit: apricots, figs, dates, or cranberries
• Petit toasts and pretzels for triple crèmes
• Oat biscuits, wheat crackers, or flatbread for firm cheeses
• Savory things in jars: cornichons, olives, dilly beans, grainy mustard
• Sweet things in jars: sour cherry jam, fig spread, apple chutney, honey
• 1 bar dark chocolate (for blue cheese)
In a mini fridge: celery, radishes, 2-3 cheeses,
1 stick mild salami, a bag of fresh thyme (optional, nice with chèvre),
grapes, apples, pears, sparkling water
Good desk cheeses
(read: not too stinky)
• Pantaleo (firm goat)
• Petit Basque (sheep)
• Stilton or Chiriboga Blue
Good cheeses for one person
• A tub of quark or chèvre
• Saint Marcellin (creamy, comes in its own crock)
• Banon (small, wrapped in edible leaves)
• Purple Haze (small goat round dusted in fennel pollen)
• Vermont Creamery Bijou (picture: goat gumdrops)
More by Madame Fromage and me…
Your Spring Goat Cheese Primer (part 1)
Late Summer Cheese Picnic (part 2)
Smoke and Funk: A Fall Cheese Board (part 3)
Winter Blues: A Pairing Party for 8 to 12 (part 4)