These are all real! Not plastic fakes!
No, it’s not Chuckie Cheese, it’s mildly more sophisticated and 4 times as wasteful. There was no way the French were gonna let anyone else hold this title, even though I’m sure someday they’ll build something so wasteful in Las Vegas that it'll make the one in France look like a Unicef distribution center…... (It’s just a joke.... deal with it!)
There is a restaurant in the South of France, in a city known as Narbonne that holds the title for the cheesiest restaurant in the world. This restaurant, whose name has clearly been chosen to convey the magnitude of French cuisine that awaits you, is called…...“Les Grands Buffet de Narbonne”…… How did they ever come up with that…..pure genius!
It’s the type of name that you’d expect to find in the yellow pages next to all the Chinese buffets and think nothing more than - big buffet…. Meh... big deal! Well, we would come to see that this buffet in the South of France is, or at least was a big deal.
Have you ever been to a buffet that requires a reservation more than 2 months in advance? If you try n' go there during peak season, not a chance in hell you're getting a table without one. The restaurant, so perfectly situated in a…….community center? What? Hmmmmm. That’s right, attached to a fitness/community center with swimming pool, is perhaps in a little bit of an oxymoronic location!
So what does it take to attract the masses, day after day, 365 days a year to this oddly chosen location for a World Record cheese selection? All it takes is an ALL YOU CAN EAT: mountain of lobsters surrounded by an army of seafood. Oysters, shrimps, crabs, snails, clams, caviar and fish, all kingdoms accounted for! Nine different Prosciutto and Serrano legs paired with a full table of charcuterie, a foie gras bar with 8 different kinds’- apparently there are at least 8! Chocolate fountains coupled with a field of patisserie with fresh candies to garnish, an area the size of a volley ball court full of sauced meats, from frog legs to baby octopus, squids, veal, pork, fish, lamb, rabbit, horse, strange poultry and god only knows what else! And if that wasn't enough to satisfy your appetite, a full front of house kitchen with French chefs that take orders and prepare fine french specialties on the spot!
Oh... Did you think I was exaggerating about a mountain of lobsters.
And then, as we say here in France "la pièce de résistance"…. A cheese section 30 meters in length with 111 choices, the largest in the world! Oh yeah and they have a salad bar for those who are into that sort of thing.
Double decker action.... and this isn't even the full spread of cheeses.
At the time my wife and myself were not vegetarians, but now that we are and have addapted a slightly more caring view for the planet, the buffet has lost its appeal to us……. except for its crowning selection of cheeses. Maybe that’s the reason we can’t go full vegan. Maybe it’s the fading ember of our experience at the worlds grandest of cheese buffets. Who knows🤷♂️ If you are a cheese lover like us, this is the by far holy grail of cheese experiences.
Is that a sponge or cheese?.....It's Cheese, glorious cheese!
It’s pretty straight forward, 111 different cheeses, all you can eat. If 111 different cheeses doesn’t seem that impressive to you, ok, write me down the names of one hundred and eleven cheeses!...That’s right!!! You can’t do it, can you! If your a hardcore cheese lover, your gonna want to try as many as possible, and they know that!
So what they do is, every cheese has a little ticket beside it with the name of the cheese and a score out of 10 to indicate the strength. You put the small ticket beside the piece of cheese on your plate so when you get back to your table you know what your eating. No joke, this is actually a very clever idea. There is such a wide selection that when you get back to your table with a plate of 15 different cheeses, you’d have to be Rain Man in order to remember what's on your plate!😉
Then to step it up a notch, on the back of your receipt you get a list with the names of all the 111 cheeses and you can cross compare with the tickets you have accumulated. This way you can see how many different cheeses you got to eat and note them.
Isn’t this all a bit excessive?
Isn’t this place just a brothel for gluttony?
Is it gonna be the most memorable cheese experience of your life?
There is no way around it, when it comes to cheese selections, you can’t do any better.
But just because you got a lot of choices, that doesn't mean that it’s good product…….Well, not in this case. All the cheeses are world class, no bull shit bottom shelf here. There are French, Italian, Dutch specialties and more - goat, sheep, cow and buffalo - Fresh, mild, medium, old and very old – soft, hard, liquid and shaved – orange, yellow, grey, white, blue and even purple! It’s the type of thing you need to see to believe!
Of course, your gonna feel a bit of remorse after the meal, that’s normal for any level headed person. After all, a buffet is just a fancy way of saying trough. Don't know what a troth is? It's what all those dead animals you just feasted on ate out of. On top of that, it is a tremendously wasteful ordeal. I honestly don't want to know how much gets thrown out everyday.
Nevertheless it is a place of gastronomical curiosities. They call to the animal we truly are, that wants to devour as much french cuisine one can physically stomach….. all for a fixed price. Talk about a sound business model!
The buffet serves some 350,000 people per year, at a cost of 42,90 euro per person. (At the time of writing, that's 0.00088 bitcoin per person, for those who only understand modern day currency!) According to those numbers, they rake in a staggering revenue of 15 million Euros per year (309.28 bitcoin), before you add in the revenue from wine, and they are certainly selling a lot of wine. Even if the owner only makes 7% profit on the food alone (which I'd doubt they make less), that’s over a million a year……. from a restaurant! These are not your average books for a restaurant that's for sure.
Could you imagine what the food costs alone must be? When observing the details of the reality of the restaurants existence and it’s place within society, it really makes you think! Good Job Humans!
I don’t get into the right or wrong of things because, who the hell am I to say!….. The only thing I can say for certain, is that I love cheese and if you love cheese these guys are gonna fill your guts up with cheeses you never even knew existed. The only thing that would make this restaurant the ultimate Willy Wonka factory for adults would be if they added a wine cellar to the all you can eat area. Imagine how much puke there’d be to clean up. There’d be so much even Elon Musk might get financially involved.
If you enjoyed this article, leave us a comment and if you've had your own experience here we'd love to hear about it. Have a peek at some of our other stories from France.