Hello, kitten. My name is Tenaya Darlington, a.k.a Madame Fromage, and I lead a double life. By day, I teach food writing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. By night, I write books, host cheese soirees, lead tastings, freelance for magazines, and trek around writing about cheesemakers — sometimes alone, sometimes as a guest with the fabulous company Cheese Journeys. How did this come to pass, this transformation from ordinary person to cheese fanatic?
Blame the state of Wisconsin and a Swiss mother. Before moving to the East Coast, I worked as a food editor at Isthmus Newspaper (Madison, WI), where I nibbled my first bites of artisan cheese. When I landed in Philadelphia in 2005, I stalked cheesemakers at farmers’ markets and fell in with a rough crew of swarthy cheesemongers at Di Bruno Bros. — my local shop — and then this blog, and a book, were born.
No matter where I go, I always take notes.
I love helping cheese lovers discover the hunks of their dreams, which is why I call myself a “cheese courtesan.” I also love showing people how to taste artisan cheese and develop a language for the flavors they detect. It marries the two things I love most: words and dairy products.
I teach Cheese Tasting 101 classes, plus workshops on cheddars, blues, washed rinds, Alpines, goat cheeses, and pairings (cheese and gin are my sin). I also teach sessions on writing about and photographing cheese — for bloggers, cheesemongers, social media geeks, and fine dairy enthusiasts. At the moment, I’m working on a new book, so my schedule is…oops…consumed by edits and crumbs.
My latest project is a drinks book, The New Cocktail Hour, written with my brother Andre Darlington, to be released in spring 2016 by Running Press. My last book was Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes, & Pairings (2013). Before that, I wrote a novel and collection of poems. They are cheese-less. Shhhh…don’t tell.
For a real glimpse into my dairy-centric life, check out this 8-minute video presented by WHYY in Philadelphia…
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
To read more MF…
What exactly is the history of your curious obsession?
Madame Fromage started as an itsy bitsy site on Blogger back in 2009 – as a former newspaper journalist, I wanted to connect with other food writers and explore the wild wheels I sniffed out in specialty shops and farmers’ markets. Since then, this site has grown into a place where I ripen ideas, share recipes, offer tasting notes and pairing tips, and highlight the stories of cheesemakers I meet along my winding way.
Who takes MF’s photos?
All of the photos on this blog are taken by moi. Please don’t steal them, at least not without plying me with strong cheese. Thanks, pussycat.
Do you accept advertising, Madame?
MF is a personal project, a sort of pillow book of dairy fantasies. It hardly seems appropriate to mix business with that sort of pleasure.
Do you want to collaborate on a project?
Try me. I tend to collaborate with chefs, other food bloggers, and sometimes cheesemakers. In general, I purchase my own supplies and spend every vinegary dime buying cheeses I love. I don’t do sponsored posts, but I am open to samples or giveaways that fit my curious little niche of artisan cheese and extraordinary pairings.
Do you make cheese?
No, my love. But I do have an odd fondness for goats. And a great reverence for those who make cheese for a living.