Around Paris: 18th: Chez Virginie

2 03 2010

Chez Virginie storefront

The reason for my Montmartre wanderings last Friday was this: a fromagerie.  Frankly, it’s a little embarrassing that I hadn’t made it over there before last week.  I mean, it’s Jennifer Greco’s favorite cheese shop in Paris!  (That Loulou knows her cheese.)


Chez Virginie is a charmingly packed cheese shop on the less-touristy side of the Butte Montmartre.  Mountains of artisan cheeses are flanked by bottles of wine, cured hams, cookies, and other cheese-friendly treats.

 More cheese!

The salesgirl was enthusiastic and helpful.  When I was curious about a cheese, she offered me a taste immediately.  I managed to limit myself to three cheeses, but was very tempted by the four-cheese flight for 7.50.  Next time.  This would be a perfect place to build a picnic, because about half a block down the street lies Arnaud Delmontel‘s famed boulangerie, as well as Arnaud Larher‘s chocolate and macaron shop.  Make sure to take a peek at the Montmartre Cemetery before you go too far – at the very least, do what I did, and snap some photos through the trellis on rue Caulaincourt.

So what did I choose from among that array of beautiful cheeses?  Well, I got a funky-looking cendré de Champagne, a “rarissime” raw mountain cow’s milk cheese, and…

Le Petit Gaugry!

Spoon cheese

When I asked for it, the salesgirl smiled and told me that this one was very good.  I knew it would be, as I’m an established fan of Fromagerie Gaugry and their luscious washed-rind cheeses.  The Petit Gaugry was pretty much a tiny époisses, the perfect serving size for two.  Nick and I just went straight for the spoon, digging through the gooey orange rind to the cream-colored center and spreading it thickly on slices of baguette.  It has the distinctive strong smell of a good washed-rind cheese, which carries over onto the palate with the tangy umami you only find in lait cru cheeses.  Simply put: it’s cheese bliss.

Of course I am sending this over to Chez Loulou for La Fête du Fromage.  I’m a little ahead of schedule this month, but be sure to check the roundup on March 15th.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.




18 responses

2 03 2010

Ok, I need to do this – the entire picnic idea is fantastic – and so close for me. Thanks for the recommendation in my neighborhood 🙂

2 03 2010
lacey in ak

My favorite Petit Gaugry story involves a French roommate who scooped out the center, poured a couple glugs of white wine, some chopped garlic and pepper into the hole, then replaced the cheese, and stuck it in the oven to warm it up. It was the best thing ever over boiled potatoes and various charcuterie. And now, I’m HUNGRY.

2 03 2010
hungry dog

Every post I read of yours makes me want to move to France. Is that your intention? 🙂 You are certainly living a fabulous life and eating amazing food. French cheese is unequaled.

2 03 2010

The cheese shops in France are amazing, I just wish I was there….

2 03 2010

Oh my GOD I just ate sooo much cheese (it was a poulet roti & cheese & pain des amis kind of dinner) yet your post just made me crave that tiny epoisses. Almost done with my Mont d’Or I bought a few days ago… the Gaugry could be next. Thank you!

3 03 2010

I’ve been strong on my healthy eating for the past three days and now you have just given me the perfect reason to go off track! Cheese is my first love and having never tried Le Petit Gaugry I am now filled with envy. I’m off to search the internet to see if it’s available stateside.

3 03 2010

Oh, yum. And the stinkier the better, particularly as I’m just regaining my sense of smell! I wish I’d had the courage to choose something like this last year when I had my wine + cheese birthday soiree, but in the end I opted for more olfactory-friendly cheeses 😛 (And a truffle cheese that was *such* a let-down. Sigh.)

3 03 2010

researchingparis – Anytime! Soon it will be warm enough to picnic… right?

lacey in AK – Sounds fantastic! I did something similar with a vacherin mont d’or once, like a little self-contained fondue. Yum!

hungry dog – No, but maybe France should pay me for promoting them. 🙂

Sam – Oh, but England has some pretty wonderful cheeses, too.

purpleceline – No way! We had pain des amis with dinner, too! (Of course, it was with a roasted vegetable soup, but still…)

Jessica – Good luck!

Hannah – Glad to hear your senses are returning to normal. This isn’t really a beginner’s cheese, but if it’s your birthday, I say you should serve whatever cheese you want! Sorry about the truffle cheese.

3 03 2010

Oh yum! That looks wonderful!
Another cheese that I need to try…

Glad you finally made it to Chez Virginie. Next time I’m in Paris I’ll have to check out your other recommendations in that neighborhood.

Thanks for participating in la Fête.

3 03 2010

Spoon to baguette: Sounds perfectly luscious. Yet another reason to get over to France again — it’s a cheese experience on a whole other level.

4 03 2010

Loulou – I can’t believe I found a cheese you haven’t tried! 🙂

trisha – It’s one of the things I expect to miss the most when I eventually return to the States.

4 03 2010

And this is why Paris cannot be beat for picnics. I would probably go into shock and die in a cheese shop like that, but at least I’d die happy!

5 03 2010
Ann Mah

This looks scrumptious and I love that it’s a tiny cheese for two. Reading your post is almost as good as eating cheese!

5 03 2010

Andrea – What a way to go!

Ann – They should make more two-person cheeses. I would have kept eating and eating, but this was gone in just the right amount of time. 🙂

8 03 2010

That is just the possible way to begin a Monday – a photo of epic amounts of cheese. Brilliant

8 03 2010

Alex – Glad I could help start your week off right!

18 03 2010
Nathalie (spacedlaw)

That looks like a great choice! And the area looks nice. I never seem to go anywhere near Montmartre when in Paris but I should really force myself and explore next time I am there.

18 03 2010

Nathalie – I especially like the Northwest side of the hill – the area around Lamarck-Caulaincourt. All the charm, far fewer tourists.

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