Cheesy to the Core

Everyone loves cheese. Who doesn’t?

From the elite to simple folks, cheese is always a winner on the palate. And we all have our faves. 

Blue cheese, anyone?

Like any other, dining with cheese should not be boring. With a glass of wine on the table and some preserved fruits, olives, crackers, chocolates and nuts on the board, nothing could go wrong. And yes, friends turning into family talking nonchalant makes the experience memorable – to say the least, that is.

Cheese overload Photo by Rudolph Alama

A recent rendezvous at La Fermette (French for small farm), an ecological and integrated farm-to-table French restaurant, proved to be a most beautiful end to a tiring workday. Tucked in the southernmost part of the city, the farm-restaurant lets you experience Mother Nature without the need to go on a trek. At La Fermette, you’d be met with lush greens, fruit bearing trees and yes, live animals.

Owned and managed by partners Jean-Michel Desreumaux (French national) and Francis Eric Tam (Filipino), La Fermette has become a staple among diners.  From kids to adults, many visit the farm-restaurant to satisfy a craving tummy.  A must try is the kawa baths. “We are now open every day to cater to our patrons who travelled just to be here,” Tam expressed.

Celebrating its first anniversary, Desreumaux and Tam had guests over to savour some of the most delectable cheeses the world has to offer. “I brought them here for our friends to enjoy. A bit of wine and cheese on a night like this is just perfect,” Desreumaux shared.

Friends and family during La Fermette’s first anniversary. Jean-Michel Desreumaux (3rd from the right,back) and Francis Eric Tam (seated 3rd from the right)

On the table were 13 delectably aromatic cheeses that varied in shape, colour, smell and yes, taste. Accompanying the cheeses were some pika-pika prepared by La Fermette that complimented the flavour pairing. Not to mention the homemade baguette served on the side. Delish!

Of the selection, the blue cheese, morbier and emmental stuck me most.

I’ve always been a fan of blue cheese, theirs was quite sharp and salty but not overpowering. On the other hand, the morbier, named after the small village of Morbier in Franche-Comte, has an ivory exterior and slightly elastic texture that leaves a moist, creamy and a slight bitter aftertaste on the palate. This, like the blue cheese, has a distinct smell that excites the senses. The yellowish medium-hard emmental was an explosion on the palate. It was savoury but mild – perfectly pairs with a slice of dark chocolate, to say the least.

Sadly, the cheeses will not be available at La Fermette. However, the farm-restaurant has been making their own cheese sold occasionally. “We have to consider the weather, the availability and other factors whenever we make some cheese. But we do have our own,” Tam and Desreumaux said.

Also available that night were a selection of red and white wines.

La Fermette is located at Purok 8, Deca Homes, Tacunan, Tugbok, Davao City.