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Fromagerie Mons, The best cheeses in the Roannais! By Lucy Franklin

Fromagerie Mons

There are many things that we Brits generally associate with the French – wine, bread, cheese, for example.

But the essence that binds these products all together has to be ‘passion’

The French are passionate about everything! Never more so than with their cheeses, and if there is one extremely successful, family-run business that exemplifies this then it has to be ‘Fromagerie Mons’.Cheese batch into storage More cheese!Mons - cheese storage

And how wonderfully fortunate are we, in the Roannais region of the Rhone-Alpes,  to have this ‘Affineur’ of fine cheeses right on our doorstep.

Many year’s ago we had been pointed in the direction of the Mons Fromagerie in ‘Halles Diderot’, a fabulous high quality indoor market  in Roanne. Having been told that they were simply the best place to purchase cheese, not only for quality, but also breadth of choice – they sell a range of over 230 different cheeses throughout the year.Fromagerie Mons - cheese preparation

Fromagerie Mons are specialists in the true sense of the word. For this reason they supply all of the ‘top’ restaurants in the area, and beyond. They, in fact, export all over the world – from the USA, UK, Norway, and Australia, to Russia, Japan, China, and Spain.

Our, eagerly awaited, recent visit to their headquarters and storage caves in Saint-Haon-le-Châtel in the Roannais, has now added a further dimension to our understanding and love of cheese.

It would have been extremely difficult not to share the passion and excitement that exudes from the Managing Director, Laurent Mons, and his Quality Control Manager.Eric and Lucy discussing the fine art of cheese 'affinage'

On arrival at the Fromagerie, we were first greeted, surprisingly, by a youthful, and enthusiastic American, Eric Meredith. We were amazed to hearn that he had come to work at Mons only 2 years ago from a cuisine and nutrition background in New York. He is now responsible for Quality Control at  Fromagerie Mons.

Although now Fluent in French, Eric led us through the various stages of cheese affination (the development, nurturing, and flavour refinement of cheeses brought in from 110 small farm producers) in English – which we much appreciated.

It would have been tragic to miss out on any snippets of the deluge of information that was fired confidently, and concisely, in our direction.

‘Passion’ seems too subtle a word to describe Eric’s love and understanding of the whole cheese process. He really does live and breath his work. He is totally dedicated. It is a vocation, not just a job! To achieve the continued quality for which Fromagerie Mons is reputed this is the only way.Temperature -controlled refridgerators

From regular liaison with the many suppliers to hands-on nurturing of the varying types of cheese, Eric’s knowledge is outstanding. He treats each cheese ( in fact, each batch) individually, regulating temperature, humidity, position within the different caves, whether the cheese should be kept wrapped or unwrapped (and if so, what in), and on what the cheese should rest – great slabs of wood, or straw matting. All in the name of quality of taste refinement!

Eric understands the nuances of the chemical processes that create, ripen, and develop cheese. He is a true connoisseur. An intelligent, scientific approach, but with enormous passion and dedication to the art of ‘affinage’ (refining of a cheese)

After our superb tour we visited Laurent Mons in his board room. He is ‘fired’ by the love of not only his cheeses, and his historic family business, but also of the Roannais region, full of its many gastronomic delights.

Rarely have I found in the UK such true adoration of a business. Fromagerie Mons is exceptional. A successful, entrepreneurial, family-run company.

Also visit our other Purefrancenow Reviews:  Fromagerie Mons, Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

Fromagerie Mons, Les Halles Diderot, Roanne Fromagerie Mons, Roanne Table Ouverte