13 November 2008

C'est Fromage! A Visit to Madison's Fromagination

Walking from my conference to my hotel each night, I passed an inviting little shop I'd wanted to explore last summer. I ran out of time then, but this week I'd pass the shop just before closing time. So, unabashed cheesehead that I am, I dodged inside drawn by the warm glow of possibilities.

The shop is Fromagination at 12 South Carroll Street. (I should note that the photo above was taken in France; I forgot my camera this trip.)

Fromagination is chock full of artisan cheese from Wisconsin's famous cheesemakers. Not wanting to make a choice, I purchased five "orphans," small wrapped odds and ends of cheese I will bring home to my husband for our Saturday night finger food tradition.

I found the staff friendly and knowledgeable, and they did not laugh as I oohed and ahed my way around the shop. Somehow, a bag of crackers and a fruit confit found their way into my bag, along with some candy for my sweet-toothed husband back home.

I have a difficult time restraining myself in food shops.

Moreover, I have still more difficult time passing by a food shop at the end of the day. There is something enticing about their cozy light against the darkening night and something enchanting about the practice of shopping for the evening meal on the way home. There's a comforting bit of serendipity involved in finding supper in a random way, of cobbling together a meal of what is available.

It's what I used to do on those long ago evenings when I lived here.

It makes me feel good to do it when I am back in town.

11 comments:

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

One of the joys of my neighborhood in Boston was the cheese shop at the end of my block. It too was one of those enticing places, especially at the end of the day, when I could picture myself going home, unwrapping my little piece of cheese, and sitting down with a few crackers and cheese and a good book. Ah, those were the days.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Yes, those were the days, Lydia! I remember them well myself. Even back then there was another cheese shop in downtown Madison. I could seldom afford its riches, sad to say.

Judy said...

I love going into food shops and look around. Of course I usually buy!! There is a cheese shop here called the Cheese Truffle. You can sample everything before you buy it. They give samples of new cheeses to. It's quite away from my neighborhood so I don't go too often. when I do I like to have plenty of time to look around.

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Cobbling together a meal has become my specialty of late, as we use up the bits of odds and ends from the garden. Some squash here, a few radishes there, the last bits of red romaine, and the final reaping of arugula. Throw in a couple of marinated chicken breasts, and we've got ourselves a meal!
LOVE the photos from France. Just keep bringing them out, little by little, so as not to overwhelm us!!!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

I love places that offer samples, Judy. It's both generous and smart.

Cyn, you have my M.O. figured out! I have enough shots to last a year, I think.

Joie de vivre said...

Oh my. I feel I would be rooted to the spot drooling for hours standing in front of the cheese case until someone finally said, "Um, ma'am? We're closing. It's time to go home."

MaryRuth said...

Oh Mimi...don't tease me with the cheese stories! I love cheese--how could I not--born in WI?!? But my better half doesn't like cheese, so unless I want to eat A LOT of cheese...I generally have to pass. =(
Next time I am in WI, I'll go there with my sister, sounds like a yummy place.

Jann said...

I have a hard time,too, passing by any food shop. This is my preferred type of shopping.....I could spend hours just going in and out of specialty shops.What did you end up getting from this shop? The photo is mouth watering! I am going to try to catch up with as many of your posts as I can. This working business is time consuming~I enjoy reading and seeing your photos so very much, warms my heart.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

JdV, that is more or less the scenario for me. Or it was in Madison. My class ended at 5:30 each night, and the shop closed at 6 p.m.

MaryRuth, my DH is not as much a cheese lover as I am. He grew up in Michigan, and that may explain it.

Jann, I need to catch up with you, too! I will add a post about the cheese later today.

Fiona said...

Food shops are always enticing, especially when hungry ! I love the idea of "cobbling a meal together" at the end of a long day. Tasty treats. For me the cheese and cracker routine has always been a morning tea thing. Swiss cheese is my cheese of choice at the moment. I should have a change.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

i should say so, Fiona! Swiss has its place, for certain. I have rarely met a cheese I did not adore.