I don’t want to be cheesy, but this was a grate cheese party (I’ll get my coat).
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the only cellars located in the centre of Brighton are full of beer and wine. La Cave à Fromage (that’s The Cheese Cellar to those of us without a working knowledge of French) bucks that trend spectacularly, nestled towards the Hove end of Western Road, by consistently luring in cheese lovers on their route towards the city centre with its decadent window display of fine British and French cheese and meats.
Since 2010 La Cave’s Hove store has provided a selection of over 200 different cheeses, which can be purchased in store or sampled alongside paired wines and charcuterie at tasting events. La Cave prides itself on the expertise of its staff on all of the food and drink that they supply, with them having to sample all of the cheeses that they sell (along with Champagne, of course) on starting at the store. Although occasionally regarded as arrogant (points of view courtesy of TripAdvisor), during the five-year celebration event, they were courteous and provided us an insight into their personal favourites from the selection (it all depends on your mood, apparently).
The store itself is eclectic, half delicatessen and half restaurant, with chopping boards and display sections huddling around the entrance and solid wooden tables set back against exposed brickwork at the rear of the store. Tucked away in corners are delightful sections of wallpaper created from a collage of cheese wrappers.
As of course you would expect, the tasting of La Cave’s ultimate cheeseboard began immediately, with the promise of free Cheese and Wine proving too much to resist. Featured was a French Goat’s Cheese called Sanite-Maure de Touraine, cylindrically shaped, with a soft and nutty flavour, alongside the Bath Soft, a British Brie whose creamy flavours were wonderfully accompanied by the citrus and mushroom of La Cave’s Truffle Honey. Washed down with suitably paired wines, soft cheese joviality settled upon those in attendance. Also present was the Comte Reserve, a sweet and salty effort not dissimilar to Edam, being semi-hard and nutty. The iconic Lancashire Bomb also featured, a crumbly and creamy cheese presented in a bomb of black wax. However, the innovative star of the show on the night was the Stilton in Port. A classic Blue Cheese, soaked in Port in-store, the sweetness of the Port counteracted the sharp taste of the Blue in a sensational eruption of flavour.
Though I suspect the wine and cheese would have continued to be provided all night, full of the high quality produce that La Cave prides itself on, many quickly decided to call it a night. As you simply have to try the recommended wines with each cheese, it’s clear as the evening continues that this is how the posh get pissed.
With the extensive knowledge of high quality produce being presented this evening, it’s clear to see how La Cave à Fromage has created a reputation amongst Brighton’s foodies as the ‘go to’ place for cheese over the last five years, and if this celebratory event is anything to go by, they’ll continue to carve their niche into the city for many more years yet.
By Lennon Craig