Friday, April 3, 2009

A Fromage Fest on Wheels

That's essentially what a cheese cart is. The cheese cart holds a special place in the hearts of so many foodies. It has enough appeal that at least one New York City restaurant built its menu (and appeal) around the cheese cart.

The cheese cart -- or chariot du fromage as it is sometimes called -- can still be found in many restaurants in the French countryside. But it is harder to find in the restaurants and bistros of cosmopolitan Paris.

For this reason, the N.Y. Times' blog Bitten reports with a tone of pleasant surprise on a Parisian restaurant where this tradition endures:

Ahem. Presenting the cheese “plate” (or tray, or table-filling platter) at Restaurant Astier, a 60-year-old bistro in the 11th arrondisement . . .

The cheeses are splendid, but equally important is supporting the old tradition (before worries about sanitation overtook the world) at your table, where you can pick it to death until someone else asks for it. (You can even ask for it back.)

This discourages ordering dessert. In fact it discourages ordering much of anything besides red wine. But it sure is fun.
I am a dessert person, not a cheese person. But my spouse gets this dreamy-eyed, contented look (that is most charming) whenever the cheese cart or cheese tray appears before him.

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