Les Halles & Our First Meeting
This post is part of a series from my two week-long training courses with the Academie Opus Caseus. You can find the rest of these posts by searching for the tag academie-opus-caseus.
I arrived at Les Halles market at about 10:45 after remaining at the Lyon train station to post the first article. I introduced myself to Etienne Boissy, who kindly offered to hold my suitcase while I waited for the others to arrive.
Les Halles is upscale market for sure. Whereas my local market is a single floor whose state of cleanliness very much depends on the hour of the day, Les Halles is three floors. The public floor was pristine and could have easily been mistaken for a food court in a high-end mall. There were a couple other fromageries in the building, suggesting that the location was able to generate enough business for them to survive. Mons was busy the entire time, with Monsieur Boissy presiding.
To say that there was a restaurant upstairs from the fromagerie was slightly overstating it. A narrow stairway at the back of the Mons stall led upstairs to a serene small room with a warm wood décor. Mons offers various cheeseplates or tastings and a small carefully-selected wine list.
Our lunch came in two courses. First was a simple salad of mozzarella burrata and heirloom tomatoes. The burrata was sublime, with a creamy just-slightly-salty center that paired beautifully with the ripe tomatoes and vinaigrette. The second course was a selection of four cheeses. The chevre was mild and young, perfumed with rosemary and served with a truffled honey. The comté was aged 24 months and, while good, didn’t stand out. A saint-marcellin was stuffed with a truffle cream that was delicious, with the truffles giving a hint of smoky flavor. The Roquefort was pleasant and sharp, but not aggressive.
I met the rest of our group over the rest of the afternoon and early evening as we ate and drank together.
Alex is Romanian, formerly a race car driver, an automobile dealership owner, a director for a minerals mining co who worked in Congo for 3 months. He’s attending as he plans to open a high-end boutique in Romania.
Kym is Australian. A former fund manager and corporate M&A, he decided to change direction when someone close to him said they hadn’t seen him smile in 3 years. He is now building his own factory to make cheese in Australia. (And as we found out today, Monday, he just won a national award in Australia for his cheese!)
Ryan is a graphics designer by training, did craft brewing professional and now is a cheesemaker. He quipped that fermentation was an important theme in his life.
Dinner was simple but tasty, consisting of good French hams, a simple salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, and a nicely-cooked potato galette. The meal reminded me of our time in Alsace. The flavors mixed perfectly and I devoured my food.