A popular food trend has emerged in Paris over the past few years. Food shops, pastry shops and restaurants are taking the specialization route, anchoring themselves with one product or several related products. They strive to make the very best version of their product, using top quality ingredients, time honored techniques and, sometimes, family recipes. A foie gras restaurant, an éclair boutique, a lobster roll stand, a small chain of jam and jelly shops, and a bagel store are just a few successful examples of the current trend.
Beau & Fort, a retail cheese boutique and restaurant, is the latest entry into the club. The name means beautiful and strong in English, but it’s also a play on words; if you connect the two words, it becomes Beaufort, a popular hard French cheese.
Opened only two months ago, Beau & Fort’s concept is for customers to experience the best cheeses -- mostly from France -- and to pair high-quality foods to compliment the cheese.
Damien Richardot, owner and creator of Beau & Fort, has long been in the restaurant business, having opened three successful restaurants in the early 2000s. In 2012 Richardot, along with Agathe Audouz, opened Café Pinson, one of the first modern organic, vegetarian restaurants in Paris.
For his newest venture, Richardot partnered with an award-winning cheese manufacturer and shop from the French countryside. He also researched suppliers with high-quality products and produce, many which are artisanal.
We went for the 15€ lunch special, where we had a choice of main dish and dessert. Baked Camembert encrusted with herbs, spices, and crushed pistachios was served on a homemade half-bun, along with roasted seasonal vegetables. The vegetables nicely rounded out the strong taste of the cheese and were a healthy accompaniment. Cheesecake was, of course, the choice for dessert, fluffy and light, served with a refreshing strawberry coulis. Other menu items included a cheeseburger topped with Raclette, Buratta cheese with arugula, roasted eggplant, and toasted almonds, and a non-cheese plate of the day, roasted pork filet.
A full page of the menu was devoted just to cheese plates and divided into three sections: Fresh -- with seasonal cheeses (spring cheeses included Mozzarella and two goat cheeses); Imported -- cheeses such as Manchego from Spain, Gorgonzola from Italy and beer washed cheese from Belgium; and the third category, a selection of French cheeses. Three cheeses are offered on one platter with a fourth “surprise” cheese. If you want the full immersion, you can order the Big Cheese, nine with a tenth surprise one. Another intriguing menu item was the pairing of certain cheeses with a beverage: for example Manchego with white grape juice or Comté cheese with black tea with dates.
The cheerful, mid-century style décor, with accents of navy blue and neutral prints, light wood and white tile, gives the space an airy feel. The middle island has high chairs and a counter. There’s also an upstairs space, which can be rented for private parties or functions.
37 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009
Open every day lunch and dinner