Found: The Best Fromageries In Town

With all due respect to vegans and the lactose-intolerant, there's nothing quite like biting into a gooey slab of brie, or invigorating your taste buds with a pungent, room-clearing wedge of Stinking Bishop.
And, while a wander through the cheese room at the Kensington Whole Foods or a weekend pilgrimage to L'Ubriaco at Borough Market can turn up some seriously amazing fromage finds, it's our local cheese shops that we turn to when we want to discover something new, hone in on the perfect wine pairings, or get inside insight into what cheese-board selections will truly blow our pals' minds.
Ahead, meet a few of our favourite cheese gurus in London and cop their expert tips on pairings, proper cheese storage (put away the cling film!), and the ultimate summer cheese board. But, let us put it this way: This is not the week to start that new diet.
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Fact: We've literally planned entire cocktail parties around the insider tips provided by the savvy Androuet team in Spitalfields Market, who are generous with samples, quick to nudge toward an adventurous flavour, and patient enough to recommend portion sizes and wine pairings. Thanks, guys.

Cheese Tip, courtesy of owner and master of cheese Alex Guarneri: "We recommend to always stock your cheeses in the vegetable [crisper] part of your fridge, as they are kept at their best in this section. Also, be frugal. Be like the church mouse and buy a little piece of cheese. Alex does not want you to keep it until it goes stale. Alex wants you to eat it now.”

Androuet, Spitalfields Market, 107B Commercial Street, E1 6BG, 020 7375 3168

Photo: Courtesy of Androuet
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Champagne + Fromage
Tucked away in Covent Garden, this bistro/shop combo invites you to try and buy as you please. The champagne afternoon tea is the perfect pre-theatre excursion, but don't be surprised if you find yourself stuffing your purse with olive oils or some of the 30+ cheeses on offer.

Cheese Tip, courtesy of co-owner Maud Fierobe: "Blanc de Blancs champagnes made only from Chardonnay go very well with hard cheeses with a creamy, nutty flavour or salty cheeses. Chardonnay offers a high acidity, which balances the strong flavours. A perfect example is Comte cheese, Cantal, or Beaufort. Blanc de Noir champagnes made mainly with black grapes pair fantastically with Bleu cheese such as Fourme d'Ambert, which is creamy and light blue. A Morbier is also a great match, as well as other creamy cheeses such as Brillat-Savarin and Chaource or goat's cheese."

Champagne + Fromage, 22 Wellington Street, WC2E 7DD, 020 7240 1604

Photo: Courtesy of Champagne + Fromage
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Neal's Yard Dairy
With locations in Covent Garden and Borough Market, there's pretty much no excuse for bypassing this treasure trove of all things fromage. Locavores take note: The rindy goods here hail from the British Isles.

Cheese Tip, courtesy of cheesemonger Viv Malt: "The essential tools every cheese enthusiast should own are an open mind, a sense of adventure, taste buds, slate as a cheese board, a paring knife, a decent cheese grater, wax paper to store the cheese in, and a worthy piece of cheese!"

Neal's Yard Dairy, 17 Shorts Garden, WC2H 9AT, 020 7240 5700, and 6 Park Street, SE1 9AB, 020 7367 0799

Photo: Courtesy of Neal's Yard Dairy
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La Cave a Fromage
Famed for its impeccable selection of French and British cheeses, this South Kensington shop also has an outpost in Brighton.

Cheese Tip, courtesy of manager Nicolas Broche: "Try these cheese and wine pairings: Campion (£7.90 each), a fresh goat's cheese coated with pink peppercorn from Madagascar with Pouilly-Fume (£19.50 per bottle), 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Loire Valley; Brillat Truffe (£38 for 500 grams), a soft cheese with a layer of black truffle through the middle) with Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes (£15.50 per bottle), 100% Pinot Noir from 80-year-old vines from Burgundy; and matured Montgomery cheddar (£3.15/100grams) with Malbec Rose (£9.50), a full-bodied rose wine made of 100% Malbec grapes from Cahors.

La Cave a Fromage, 24-25 Cromwell Place, SW7 2LD, 020 7581 1804

Photo: Courtesy of La Cave a Fromage
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La Fromagerie
Cheese rooms, cheese-maturing cellars, freshly baked bread and other gourmet goodies...there's plenty to entice at La Fromagerie's Highbury and Marylebone locations.

Cheese Tip, courtesy of owner Patricia Michelson: "For the perfect summer cheese plate, try these varieties: Fleur de Chevre, Poitou, a drum-shaped, fresh, light textured cheese with natural rind and wrapped in a leaf. The cheese is salted with the delicate fine grains of Fleur de Sel from the Ile de Re, giving the taste a gentleness quite unlike the usual goat’s cheeses. Claousou, Hures la Parade, Cevennes — the bark collar around the tender unpasteurised ewe’s milk cheese made with a traditional rennet imparts a sappy aroma and bosky flavour, and with a little brine washing of the rind the rich silky earthy flavours come alive to be enjoyed with fruity aromatic red wines." La Fromagerie, 30 Highbury Park, N5 2AA, 020 7359 7440, and 2-6 Moxon Street, W1U 4EW, 020 7935 0341

Photo: Courtesy of La Fromagerie
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Paxton & Whitfield
Now here's an oldie but goodie. This artisan cheesemonger has been in business since the 1700s, and has the royal warrants and glowing recommendation from Winston Churchill to prove it. Sold.

Cheese Tip, courtesy of manager Hero Hirsh: "In terms of amount, if you are looking to create a cheese board as part of an evening meal I'd suggest allowing each person about 100g to 125g of cheese; around 750g of cheese in total is a good amount. If you are looking for a light lunch or supper, then I'd allow each person 150g. Also in terms of different styles of cheeses I'd suggest that you create a cheese board with three or four cheeses. More than that and it's too much for the palate to enjoy. Before serving, I'd bring the cheese out to warm up to room temperature (20 minutes should be enough) and then serve it on a cheese board. Letting the cheese warm a little will help improve its flavours when you come to eat it."

Paxton & Whitfield, 93 Jermyn Street, SW1Y 6JE, 020 7930 0259

Photo: Courtesy of Paxton & Whitfield