Top Ten Reasons To Stop at La Fromagerie on Marylebone High Street in London
1. The good folk at La Fromagerie offer an array of soft cheeses that are pliable and can squeeze with a practiced expertise past the lump that’s been rising up your throat ever since you began your stroll up Marylebone High Street. Matters won’t have been helped if you are coming straight from the Wallace Collection at Hertford House. The Wallace Collection is an art gallery a minute’s walk from La Fromagerie and is hidden just out of gaze of the common tourist. I should say it is isn’t so much an art gallery as it is the Seymour’s (as in Jane Seymour) ancient London house. The family used their connections to royalty and riches to travel Europe while Europe was creating the art that you know art to be today and lucky for you brought it home to Hertford House. I must warn you also that the foyer of Herford House is really more of a gondola ride through a few Canaletto paintings of Venice and there’s only so much room in one’s throat. You’ll need La Fromagerie if you ever want to eat again.
2. La Fromagerie will save you from the attempts of Daunt Books to destroy your travel plans. The books at Daunt Books down the street are not arranged by author nor by genre nor by fiction/non fiction. Forget your elementary school library memories of freezing mid-dip of your Dunkaroos while trying to decide whether to go left to non-fiction for a book about the lives of caterpillars or to go right to fiction for the life of a particular one. At Daunt Books they do not believe in distinguishing. No. In this socialist utopia of books no priority is given to fame of author or fiction vs. non-fiction but by country and within country all are equal. Here the grapes and the wine are sold in the same part of the store as long as the grapes were birthed of the same soil. And you will run. You will run because you are in the Austrian section and that means before you on the bookshelf is literature whether written by an Austrian or about an Austrian or set in Austria. You will realize that because you are in London that Austria is but a train ride away and your senses will be overwhelmed and overcome with the emotion of book and place all wrapped into one and you will fly out the door but while on your way to King’s Cross station you will pass La Fromagerie and its array of delicate cheeses. It will delicately remind you that there is no need to go anywhere because you are indeed are already in London and Regent’s Park is right down the street and so take your book and your cheese and your wine pairing and sore quads from all the running and reading and eating at the same time and rest.
3. Cheese is cheap. Somewhere along the way we got lost and cheese got associated with fancy-pants restaurants and Andy Bernard offering fine Wisconsin Parmesan on rolling carts but really it’s the starving artist’s staple in cold one-room studios and peasant farmers skimming milk for centuries. It makes it all no big deal that at Daunt Books you decided that today you were not to be undignified by deciding which Harry Potter book with the cover you’ve never seen to buy. You bought the whole series. Relax. Life is about balance. So you spent a little more at Daunt Books than you wanted. It happens. Role with it. Now you don’t have to spend money you now don’t have at department stores or forgettable lunches because tired and hungry you just went into the first place you found that was open. Spend what money and time you have left of the day on cheese and wine and crackers and reading at Regent’s Park. Be bohemian for an afternoon. It’s lovely.
4. The weather inside La Fromagerie is always opposite the mood of London outdoors. Raining outside on the pavement of Marylebone High Street? It’ll be dry inside La Fromagerie. A heat wave in July? Check out the walk-in fridge of cheese and friendliness and be cool in all ways one can be cool. Is it freezing outside because you gloriously came to London in December for Christmas markets and the cozy interiors of Gordon Ramsay restaurants? Hang your jacket up here and sit at the café because weather relief is La Fromagerie.
5. Eyes-free eating. Keep your eyes on your new Harry Potter book from Daunt Books while eating cheese at the same time. No pesky forks to stab yourself with. No sandwiches to grab the top-half of and then disaster. Oh no. Just read. Dip cracker into cheese. Keep reading. Chew. Keep reading. Repeat. It’s danger free. There’s no safer way to eat while distracted.
6. Dawn Tinsley from The Office likes Brie and Slough isn’t all that far away by train. Chances are better than average she’ll be joining you for a picnic at Regent’s Park. Have a bit of Brie for her just like the bit of Brie she was having when David Brent was talking to her about a recent medical scare. She’ll appreciate the comfort and retreat.
7. La Fromagerie is just good art. There are worse theorems to apply to travel than the theorems of good art when deciding what to do next. Stick to the structured and linear day you’ve planned. Just add the freedom of tone with the colors and choices and softness of the cheeses and wines at La Fromagerie. Look at Renoir. That’s what he did. Line filled in with tone. Someone is going to ask the question you’ve been dreading all along. “What should we do next?” Put on a very artistic pout and raise your hand in the air and touch thumb to pointer finger and with a scowling elegance like the old Painter in Amélie give a nice growl. “Renoir!”
8. There is a chance that the infinite possibilities in this area will overwhelm you and with no small amount of irony does anyone make good dining decisions when hungry. This is a high street after all. This is the kind of street where Londoners do the business of life. Have a bite of cheese. Make a good decision. Simple.
9. The Brits are bloody competitive. Few are the times when having a laugh and a chat with one of my English buddies doesn’t turn into some sort of contest mental or physical or both. I can’t think of another place in the world where quiz-night and having an after-work drink are part of the same culture. Picnic accordingly. If the weather is good enough that you’re considering a sit and a picnic at Regency’s Park then stop by La Fromagerie and picnic to win.