This is a proper cheese emporium: the tables and shelves are filled with the stuff, and a faint whiff of Camembert hangs in the air
Last week I went adventuring in Covent Garden. We all know that Balthazar and Shake Shack will be there soon, however I went somewhere a little smaller but equally fabulous. Champagne + Fromage is a teeny deli-cum-bistro on Wellington Street specialising in – wait for it – champagne and cheese.
This is a proper cheese emporium: the tables and shelves are filled with the stuff, and a faint whiff of Camembert hangs in the air. It must be said that I am not a big cheese fan – I pull a face at dinner if the cheeseboard is plonked next to me – but even I had a wonderful evening, and only part of that is down to the copious amounts of champagne and my gold paper crown (explanation to follow).
Maud, one of the owners, looked after us superbly all evening. Knowledgeable and friendly, she walked us through the different grower champagnes available and helpfully paired them with the food we selected.
I took The Count with me (he is a banker, does maths etc) and between us we plumped for one the Montbeliarde tartine of a smoky Montbeliarde sausage, Morbier cheese with a shallot confit, a charcuterie board of a lovely, thick saucisson, a smoked, air-dried ham and a peppered version of said ham with silverskin onions, cornichon and proper pain Poilane.
Pictured above: Champagne + Fromage in Covent Garden
It was authentic French fare – nothing fussy, just fine produce. By this point we were two glasses down and the Count had asked Maud some very insightful questions, which she answered magnificently. What those questions were, I’m not quite sure, but I do recall that an extra-dry champagne is in fact relatively sweet, coming in above a brut or extra-brut for added sugar – around 18 per cent.
The Count then went in for a cheeseboard (pictured below), and mighty it was too: three different cheeses, with a selection of bread, grapes and quince jelly. Being a girl who doesn’t like cheese that much I opted for the seasonal Galette des Rois.
Here comes the crown explanation. Traditionally, a small toy is hidden inside this lovely pastry and almond paste delight and whoever finds it gets to wear it and will have good luck. I found the toy. I ate all the pudding. I definitely wore the crown.
This is a lovely find, so much nicer than the over-priced touristy offerings in much of Covent Garden. The menu is traditional, the food delicious and the atmosphere bustling. Moreover, you can take the produce home with you. I highly recommend it.