9 Things That'll Take Your Love For Cheese To The Next Level

Cheese influencer Tenaya Darlington, aka Madame Fromage, spills on where to get the best cheese domes, boards and even artwork featuring cheese.
Lisa Schaffer

Some Instagram cheese-fluencers are known for posting their bursting, rainbow-colored charcuterie spreads. But Tenaya Darlington, aka Madame Fromage, lets her minimalist cheese glamour shots and thoughtful, flavor-focused tutorial videos breathe.

A creative writing professor by day, Darlington launched her cheese courtesan alter ego with a blog 12 years ago, tasting her way through all 350 wheels sold by cheese emporium Di Bruno Bros. Since then, she’s published a book on cheese, penned three cocktail-centric volumes with her brother Andre Darlington, helped lead tours around the world with Cheese Journeys, served as cheese director at Tria in Philadelphia, and hosted the Cheese Ball, a biennial blowout featuring an enormous cheese board heaped with wheels and wedges ranging from luscious and floral to punchy and pungent.

These days, Darlington puts most of her cheese content on her Instagram account and IGTV channel @mmefromage. There, she highlights favorite Old World styles and new finds from small-scale American cheesemakers ― and shows off her impressive collection of effortlessly chic gear in the process.

Here are some of Darlington’s product recommendations for living your most delicious cheese life.

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A cheese dome
Crate & Barrel
“When I first entered the cheese lifestyle as a blogger, I bought a cheese dome with a marble base from a tiny cheese shop down the street from my house in Philadelphia. It’s still one of my favorite tools. The marble base keeps cheese cool, and the glass dome holds in humidity. I like to buy a funky washed rind or a bloomy brie style and set it under the dome to ripen on the counter for a day or two in cool weather. Few things are better than a mattress-soft cheese with a little fresh fruit and a cocktail for supper.”

Get the French Kitchen Marble Cheese Dome from Crate & Barrel for $59.95.
A set of cheese knives
“Most of my cheese knives come from thrift stores and flea markets. In France, I got turned on to Laguiole cheese knives, which are stunning. I always carry a Laguiole cheese spreader in my bag — it’s like a favorite pen.”

Get the Seven-Piece Laguiole Cheese Knife and Spreader Set for $28.99.
A Cheese Grotto
Cheese Grotto
“My Mercedes-Benz of cheese, if there is such a thing, is a Cheese Grotto for storing cheese. If I have a lot of cheese in the house, I pop them into the Cheese Grotto and slide the whole thing into the fridge. The Grotto keeps them moist and cool, and it’s a divine display when people come over.”

Get the Cheese Grotto starting at $85.
A cheese print tea towel
“I have a thing for educational kitchen towels. I bought a towel printed with French cheeses, and it’s the thing I send through the wash most often. I use it as a kitchen towel, an apron, a video prop, sometimes even as a scarf.”

Get the cheese print tea towel for $18.99.
Barr Hill Gin
Lisa Schaffer
“A cheese board with mixed drinks is a no-brainer, and I wish more cocktail bars would develop cheese pairing menus. I’m a gin fiend, and if I’m home in the evening, I love fixing a French 75 or a Bee’s Knees with Barr Hill Gin. It’s made in Vermont, from local honey, and there’s just a hint of nutty-sweet beeswaxiness. It’s gorgeous with pretty much any cheese. Sometimes I just drink it on the rocks with a lemon twist and a hunk of young pecorino.”

Get Barr Hill Gin for $39.99.
Cheese prints by Mike Geno
Mike Geno
“The star of my kitchen is a small oil painting of a juniper-laced pecorino, my favorite cheese to pair with gin and tonics. It was painted by Mike Geno, a food artist in my neighborhood. We bartered for it. I created a huge cheese board for one of his studio openings, and he let me pick a cheese painting from his wall.”

Get cheese portraits and prints from Mike Geno starting at $50.
A hand-carved cheese board
“For weddings and anniversaries, my favorite gifts to give are cheese boards and jam cups from Artifaqt, a family-owned woodworking shop in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Most of the cheeses I love are still made by hand, and I like to serve them with other handmade things. There’s nothing I love more than a beautiful cheese board surrounded by bowls of nuts, honey, jams and olives.”

Get hand-carved cheese boards from Artifaqt Design starting at $70.
A tabletop tripod
“During the pandemic, I started an IGTV channel and began making educational cheese videos. I feel like the world needs more cheese tutorials — cheese is still an unexplored realm for so many people, and it’s such a gateway to pleasure. I bought a Joby tabletop phone tripod last March, and now I use it all the time for snapping cheese board images and making cheese videos.”

Get the Joby Griptight Pro Telepod for $70.
American artisan cheeses
Birchrun Hills
“I like to buy cheese directly from makers, like Sue Miller of Birchrun Hills Farm just outside Philadelphia. I love her whole line of raw milk cheeses. This spring, I’m also having a love affair with goat cheeses from FireFly Farms in Maryland. Their Merry Goat Round, a delicate goat brie, has been my breakfast all week, alongside a toasted baguette and strawberry jam. For a wide selection, I try to purchase from independent cheese shops, like Di Bruno Bros., Saxelby Cheese or Antonelli’s Cheese. I know they support small makers, and that’s important to me.”

Get artisan cow’s milk cheeses from Birchrun Hills Farm starting at $8.

Get artisan goat’s milk cheeses from FireFly Farms starting at $9.

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