For the Love of All Things Cheese

We all have our weaknesses. Mine? Cheese.

Growing up in a French family, my love affair with cheese started early. My grandparents lived in Versailles, behind the L-shaped halls of the Place du Marché Notre Dame. Some of my fondest childhood memories were the leisurely strolls through the expansive market square, inhaling the aromas of artisanal cheeses from every region of France. At the time, many of these cheeses were unavailable in the States. So, we’d smuggle in as much as we could, leaving our suitcases and clothing with a distinct odor.

angled down view of square white plate holding artfully arranged cheese with flowers on top

Tableaux Paris \\\ Photo: Courtesy Tableaux Paris

Fast forward to today, where artisanal cheeses are readily available and in vogue. Haute fromageries worldwide have transformed the mesophilic and thermophilic cultures into a visual feast to experience. From the colorful jewels displayed at Tableaux in Paris, to the meticulously designed Fromaje in Madrid, and the shrine-like Maison Morand in Dubai, each of these establishments intersects heavily with design to elevate cheese to a cult status.

angled interior view of Paris cheese shop with glass display case holding artfully designed cheeses

Tableaux Paris \\\ Photo: Courtesy Tableaux Paris

Tableaux Paris, near the Opéra Garnier, is a passion project by Tom Tarsiguel, merging floral art and gastronomy into a dream-like patisserie of fromage. Each cheese is uniquely decorated with tweezer precision, showcasing Tom’s eye for color and composition. Whether you’re looking for a refined hostess gift or a decadent treat for yourself, Tableaux Paris steals the show with high-quality cheeses enhanced with herbs, aromatics, spices, and edible flowers.

Partial interior view of modern cheese shop in Paris with blocks of cheese on counter

Maison Morand Paris \\\ Photo: Courtesy Maison Morand Paris

At Maison Morand (Paris) in Dubai, they rely less on flourishes and decoration, but on the craftsmanship of cheesemaking. With their family roots in the French countryside of Annecy, they chose to introduce Dubai to non-industrial, small batched artisanal cheeses emphasizing high-quality milk and traditional techniques, such as hand-cutting and shaping. With their clean, stark shop, each cheese sits at eye level behind a wall of glass, giving it space to breathe and tell its story. Maison Morand offers a range of cheeses that vary in texture, flavor, and intensity, marrying the diverse and rich world of cheese with a celebration of craftsmanship in a modern setting.

angled interior view of display windows inside a modern cheese shop in Paris

Maison Morand Paris \\\ Photo: Courtesy Maison Morand Paris

angled view of modern cheese shop with stone front counter holding various cheeses

Formaje \\\ Photo: Pablo Zamora, courtesy of Formaje

Then in Madrid’s Chamberí district, Formaje is a minimalist culinary space designed by Cobalto Studio. Utilizing natural materials, the serene space allows cheese to take center stage on a dominant granite counter and age on wood shelves along sandy-colored walls. Clara Diez and Adrián Pellejo aim to foster a community around cheese, going beyond the consumer experience. With a distinctive tasting room, they hope to create “a common space where artisan cheese is celebrated and where food craftsmanship is given visibility.”

down view of gourmet cheese looking like a cut piece of pie

Álex Cordobés \\\ Photo: Courtesy of Álex Cordobés

Diez and Pellejo also contribute to limited edition collaborations like the viral cheesecake they prepared with Álex Cordobés. By popular demand, Cordobés’ opened an exquisite cake shop on Velázquez Street in the center of Madrid, using a similar minimalist aesthetic to display his work. His sweet and salty Basque-style cakes of cream cheeses combined with smoked Idiazabal, blue cheese, or parmesan stand out as true gastronomic jewels.

exterior view of cheese shop window with display of cheeses

Álex Cordobés \\\ Photo: Courtesy of Álex Cordobés

From Paris to Madrid and Dubai, these institutions are united by a common goal – appreciating and elevating cheese. Each place embodies passion, innovation, and celebration, making every creamy creation a tribute to culture, craftsmanship, and the universal delight that is cheese.⁠

TJ Girard is a sought-after food designer and creative consultant, celebrated for staging theatrical, interactive food + beverage experiences. She now resides in California where her creativity is solar powered! TJ writes the Design Milk column called Taste.