CARCASSONE IS FAMOUS FOR ITS CASSOULET, BUT A CHEESE DEGUSTATION COMES AS A SURPRISE:
Walking through the medieval centre of Carcassone (La Cité de Carcassone), we see numerous cafés and restaurants advertising cassoulet and crepes. Being lunchtime, and a Sunday, the city is packed with people having lunch in the squares and in the cafés along the side streets. Although cassoulet is theoretically a winter food, and it’s a hot day in Carcassone today, the eateries have no qualms in enticing passing tourists to try this regional Languedoc dish.
A Vegetarian Nightmare
Cooked in goose fat, cassoulet is of course a nightmare for people like us who don’t eat meat. Luckily for us, Tony spots Fromagerie Autour du Fromage, a small cheese shop which has tasting platters of cheese and sausages, and so we decide to have lunch there.
A Fromagerie with Plateaux de Degustation
Autour du Fromage is a fromagerie and charcuterie which sells cheeses, sausages, wines and breads that are produced locally. We ask Theo, the young guy in the shop, for the Plateau du fromage, a cheese tasting plate without the meat. The platter he serves us has eight different types of cheeses and two different types of bread rolls. The eight cheeses we get to taste are:
- vache a la truffe
- goudar olive
- tome de savoie
- vieux cantal
- jeaune canal
- prebi a la truffe
Tony orders a local red while I have San Pellegrino.
Excellent Bread and Cheeses
The bread rolls are delicious and the cheeses are simply excellent, especially the truffle cheese. Whilst eating, I notice a newspaper clipping about Dominique Querrien, a Nante resident who fell in love with Carcassone and started Autour du Fromage. In his little shop, his business idea is to offer visitors to Carcasonne the opportunity to taste all the best produce in France, including cheeses, meats, local wines and breads.
Meeting the Boss
Just as we are finishing our lunch, a man walks in and greets the two ladies at the front table. He looks like the guy in the article that I have just been reading about and when he smiles at us I ask him if he is Dominique Querrien, the man in the article and he says yes.
Dominique is a cool and friendly guy and we tell him that we really enjoy his cheeses, breads and wine and Autour du Fromage is a wonderful find and great experience for us. I let Dominique know that I especially love the truffle cheese and Tony goes further to say that I am a truffle addict. Dominique responds by asking Theo to let us try his best truffle cheeses kept behind the glass counter. He also offers us an extra glass of wine with his compliments.
Tony asks if we can take a picture with him and as I stand in a conventional pose next to him, he comes up with the idea of holding up a wedge of truffle cheese with us pretending to bite into it.
What a fun character he is and what a pleasant gourmet experience for us to have this cheese degustation in Carcassone. For this encounter with Dominique, we are grateful that we are not cassoulet eaters.
Autour du Fromage at 8 rue Saint Sernin. The lunch is not expensive but as I buy a wedge of truffle cheese to take away, that jacks up the bill. Dominique Querrien is starting up a new business in Carcassone where raclette is served so if you’re in Carcasonne and love gourmet food, you’d want to keep a lookout for his shops.
Autour de Fromage,
8 Rue Saint-Sernin
Cite Medieval – Carcassonne