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One of the most famous fromageries, cheese shops, in Paris is Androuët. In 1909 Henri Androuët, who started off as a peddler for the laiterie (dairy) Gervais, had the idea of making cheeses from all the regions of France available for tasting to Parisians who were unaware of their country’s rich cheese heritage. Henri Androuët opened his crémerie on rue d’Amsterdam.
After the tragedy and disruption of the Great War, Henri Androuët continued to develop his business, curing and aging the cheeses himself. The banality of the products then being distributed encouraged Henri Androuët to seek out new ones, even going to visit the producers directly in order to get them. His quest for cheeses led him to crisscross France at a time when country roads were still unpaved, slowly acquiring a unique and profound knowledge of the cheeses of France, the places where they are made, and the people who make them.
In the mid-1920, the fame of the house of Androuët, which by then was offering more than one hundred cheeses, had reached the point where Henri Androuët was prompted to open a tasting cellar which soon became a gathering place for cheese lovers.
Around 1925, out of a desire to familiarize people with the resources of France’s terroirs, Henri Androuët created his “cheese calendars.” They listed over one hundred types of cheese, each presented under a regional or local name and accompanied by its period of full maturity. The innovative brochures were a huge success.
In the early 1930s, Henri's son, Pierre, decided not to pursue his architecture studies and went into the family business. His passion for it soon led him to extend the cheese shop and add a restaurant, for which he drew the plans himself, in 1934.
Success was immediate, and the Androuët gourmet restaurant became an institution. Following in his father’s footsteps, Pierre Androuët took to the highways and byways of France to look for cheeses, buying them directly from the producers as much as possible. Like a prospector looking for gold, he continued the search. At the same time, he extended the cellars. There he perfected the curing and aging techniques that, along with the restaurant, have made the house of Androuët famous. Famous customers of Androuët have included Charles de Gaulle, the novelists Colette and Ernest Hemingway, the creators of Astérix, and stars like Jean Gabin and Orson Welles, Toshiro Mifune, and opéra soprano Maria Callas.
By the 1950s, Henri and Pierre Androuët were considered the most illustrious maîtres fromagers affineurs in France and in the world. Never lowering his standards of quality, Pierre Androuët became the unchallenged ambassador of les fromages français, traveling the world to learn about, understand, and catalogue production techniques and specialties and become a living encyclopedia of cheese.
Today the house of Androuët comprises six fine fromageries in Paris. Androuët is also a team of people who are passionate about cheese, all of them professionals and connoisseurs of artisanal cheeses.
Cheese at chez Androuët means more than two hundred products from different terroirs, exclusively made with lait cru (raw milk), each of them unique, cured and matured under the supervision of maîtres affineurs and aged or prepared in curing cellars.
Louis la Vache, always happy to support les fermiers français de laiterie (French dairy farmers), thinks this would be a good place to offer une recette avec fromage: Salade au Fromage de Chèvre avec Noix, a salad including goat cheese and walnuts.
Salade au Fromage de Chèvre avec Noix
6 ounces baby lettuces with herbs
1 Tablespoon toasted, chopped walnuts
1 (3-oz) log soft goat cheese
For the vinaigrette:
3 Tablespoons Walnut oil
2 to 2-1/2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
More toasted chopped walnuts
1. Make the vinaigrette: Pour vinegar into a small bowl, whisk in salt and pepper. Slowly add the walnut oil until emulsified.
2. Wash and dry the baby lettuces and herb mixture. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the walnuts.
3. Just before serving the salad, toss the greens with the vinaigrette.
4. You have two options with the goat cheese:
Roll the goat cheese into 12 small balls, placing 3 on each plate or;
Crumble the goat cheese onto the greens.
- Charles de Gaulle