Finding the right cheese to match your mood, your tastes or even a certain meal can be challenging – although there are so many types of cheese to choose from, finding a good supplier can be difficult and the range of cheeses in supermarkets lacklustre. For those of you visiting Berlin in search of French cheese, however, the search is over!
Maître Philippe is a small delicatessen located in Wilmersdorf. Founded in 1994 by Philippe Causse the deli specialises in French cheese, wine, meats and tinned fish, and has garnered a dedicated following over the years.
After moving to Berlin from Marseilles for love over forty years ago, Philippe explains, “I used to have wine shops like everybody else. I was running these shops and I had one with an ex (business) partner but we decided to seperate, and then I had the idea to sell cheese because no one else was selling cheese in Berlin at that time. It works because it’s not expensive, we buy products for a good price so even when we sell top quality products we don’t have to be inaffordable.”
The wide selection of cheeses is the main focus of the shop, the delicious scent greeting your nostrils on entering testimony to this. Philippe has diligently sourced every cheese himself, either by personally meeting the producer or through his long trusted affineur, something which he claims is the key to finding the best cheeses. Anaïs, Philippe’s eldest daughter (the shop’s full title is Maître Philippe et Filles, after all) who helps to run the shop explains how she visited their affineur in France – “He knows small cheese farmers and takes the cheese to his ripening cellar where he ripens them in the correct way. He has eight rooms with different temperatures and humidity so every cheese has different flavours.” Using an affineur allows the small farmers in France who would not else be able to ship their products to become accessible, allowing business like Maître Philippe to sell their delicious produce.
Cheese is not the only thing on the menu at Maître Philippe however, and there is also a good selection of wine to accompany your cheeseboard. Anaïs recommends goat’s cheese Crottin de Chavignol as the perfect match for Reisling, a traditional sweet German white wine which you’re likely to try in Berlin.
The shop also offers a number of other delicious dinner party essentials: canned food, fruit jams, honeys, oils, vinegars, caramel au beurre salé and biscuits, not to mention the biggest selection of canned sardines in Germany! Fish lovers will be delighted to hear that there is a whole room dedicated to canned fish, all responsibly sourced from France and Portugal and contained in the most beautifully coloured tins. A useful tip from Anaïs: a lot of the tinned fish you can buy tastes even better over time. If you want to save your fish for a later date store it in a cool dry place and remember to turn the can approximately every six months to allow the oil to move around the fish.
Maître Philippe also offers a meat counter with a selection of French cold cuts. I enquire as to whether this is the most popular purchase – Germans are famed for their love of sausage – but this isn’t the case, and it’s actually Comté cheese which comes in at first place in the sales stakes.
The perfect place to source the essentials for an amazing dinner party, or just to indulge in some of the best quality cheese Berlin has to offer, it’s clear that Maître Philippe love what they do, and that is always a recipe for success.
Maître Philippe et Filles
Emser Straße 42