La Fromagerie was founded by Patricia in 1991, whose love of cheese began whilst she was skiing in the alpine resort of Meribel, had a tumble, lost her bearings and ended up buying a small piece of cheese from the local cheesemonger on her way back to her chalet. Patricia returned to London with a 38kg wheel of Beaufort Chalet d’Alpage which she sold from her garden shed, then graduated to a weekend stall in Camden Market a few months later, and before long, opened a tiny shop before moving to her current premises in Highbury nine months later.
La Fromagerie now comprises three shops, featuring the temperature and humidity controlled signature walk-in cheese rooms housing over 200 cheeses. There is also a successful wholesale business, supplying some of the most reputable chefs and restaurants in the UK.
Patricia also has an award-winning book: 'The Cheese Room' which was published in 2001, and her second book: 'CHEESE' was published in 2010.
I like cheese.
You would see in these incredible restaurants a cheeseboard and that’s how I started to think ‘Wow, there’s more to cheese than cheddar’.
Slowly I became this sort of nutcase about cheese.
I said to myself ‘if I get down this (slope), I want to do something else with my life, I don’t want to be working for somebody else, I want to try and do something for myself.'
I started on a shoestring.
Something like cheese gives you a very clear reference to how to be a good person, how to respect the place that you live, and looking after your animals is just as important as looking after the land.
A farmer, a dairy and farms are so important to the way we live.
Taking milk and transforming it into curds and then into cheese is a magical process.
This is a magical world because a lot of you think of cheese as coming out of a packet… taking away the romance of what actual cheese really looks like.
I hate the idea of going down corridors and just buying off of shelves. Everything is placed in the shop for a reason.
I don’t have fancy cars and three homes and stuff, I don’t need that. My business is the thing that gives me joy in a way, I love my kids, I love my grandchildren and they’re all part of it.
I think life is different now, you need to stand back and look and be a little bit more reflective and a little bit more caring.