Jean d'Alos Fromager-Affineur in Bordeaux has been our favorite for may years. Home to 150 cheeses from southwestern France, 95 percent of them raw-milk, this highly-respected shop has developed special relationships over the years with many small, local producers to age their cheeses and take them to market.
You will be greeted by lovely Patricia Dubourg and Delphine Loriot, who will generously provide You with a 90-minute personal tour of the small upstairs shop and the three, 15th-Century aging caves below. Jean d'Alos has just remodeled its street-level shop into a modern, simple-chic retail space, with cutting-edge refrigeration methods that allow cheeses to seemingly float on open shelves, inviting customers to touch, smell before buying.
After viewing Jean d'Alos' three different aging caves - one for goat cheeses, one for bloomy rinds, and the largest for cooked and uncooked pressed cheeses, Patricia and Delphine let You through a five-cheese tasting tour, first showing the whole wheel aging in their caves, and then cutting up a wedge so You could taste with different wines.
Ossau de Printemps: A classic sheep's milk cheese made in the French Pyr?n?es in the Ossau Valley province, this hard, naturally-rinded boasts a beautiful natural ivory paste with hints of hazelnut.
Comte: Jean d'Alos hand selects wheels of Comte, ages the wheels in their caves, and sells between two and three wheels a week. Keep in mind that each wheel weighs about 110 pounds, and you'll understand how much cheese this shop moves. We tried a wheel of this famous AOC beauty from 2009, and after the cave tour and tasting, went upstairs and promptly bought our fair share for a lunch.
Tomme d'Aquitaine: this cheese, a recent creation, resulted from the marriage of two traditions: the production of pressed cheese made by migrating shepherds in the Graves region in spring before traveling back to the Pyrenees, and the production of the regional white wine. The rind is washed for at least four months in Sauternes wine to achieve the unique fruity flavor.
St. Nectaire Fernier: Earning the first farmhouse AOC designation in France in 1955, this cheese is rightly considered one of France's national treasures. Made from the milk of Salers cows that feed on volcanic pasture lands of France, the cheese is aged by Jean d'Alos on straw mats, covered with breathable sheets of paper. While the rind gives off a pungent odor of straw and mushroom, the paste is soft, creamy and dreamy, with a lush nutty flavor.
Rocamadour, Sainte-Maure-De-Touraine, Pecorino, Brie, Maroilles...