Fromage, the French word for cheese, is an encyclopedic reference of cheeses from all over the world. Have you ever been befuddled by a restaurant cheese menu or stared blankly at the massive selection of foreign diary products in a cheese shop? The Fromage app may be a valuable resource. Use it to find substitutions when you’re stuck in a grocery store that doesn’t carry an obscure cheese on your list. Tap into the organizational features to keep track of cheeses in the Try, Buy or Favorites lists.
No need to wait for an Internet connection, simply search by cheese name or scroll through alphabetized categories: Region, Milk Type or Texture. Fast facts, photographs and historical descriptions of each cheese give you the information to make quick decisions in retail and restaurant situations. But don’t just take our word for it, find out for yourself after the break.
Open the Fromage cheese library and choose from five different filtering modes noted by icons on the bottom of the screen: Search, Region, Milk Type, Texture and Favorites. Search is the home page, where you can type in the name of a cheese or scroll through the entire alphabetical list of cheeses. The search engine only finds exact name matches, so scrolling is helpful if you’re not sure how to spell the name of the cheese. Letters on the right side of the page allow you to jump past the hundreds of cheeses faster.
Tap on a cheese name and to bring up a quick facts card with a photograph of the cheese plus information on the country of origin, milk type, texture and wine pairing recommendations. Touch the screen once and the card flips to reveal the more detailed story behind the cheese making method, the producer, tasting notes and substitutions.
Not only are there more types of cheese than in any other cheese reference app, but also the descriptions come from reputable sources and the information is actually useful. Cheese descriptions outline what makes the product special, sharing tips on whether the cheese tastes best as it is on a cheese plate, melted on a pizza or grated over salad. The flip function keeps information on each side of the cheese card concise, allowing for a smoother, more efficient user experience.
Adding and Sharing
The Notes button found on each cheese card allows you to enter your own tasting notes and star rating, as well as historical information like price, location found and date. Choose from a selection of 70 Tasting Keywords to help you describe the cheese. Just below the Notes button is a Share button, which creates an email from your personal account with all the cheese information and the photograph so you can suggest it to a friend. Unfortunately, there is no option for sharing the cheese via social media channels like Twitter or Facebook.
The database of cheeses is culled from huge supplier sites like igourmet.com and cheesesupply.com, and though you’ll have no problem finding widely available cheeses, niche products may not be in the library. This is where the add function comes in. Click the + button at the top right corner of the screen to add your own cheese. You can even upload a photo of the cheese from your phone. Once added, your cheese becomes part of the searchable library.
The Favorites page organizes your notes into categories. Anytime you add your own personal note to a cheese, you’ll see buttons for categorizing the cheese at the top of the page, just under the star rating. Tap on a button to categorize a cheese in the Try, Buy or Favorites list. This function is useful for keeping track of cheese recommendations or seeking out a cheese you discovered at a restaurant. Can’t remember the name of your favorite cheese from the Basque region of Spain? Scroll through your favorites list and there it is! By the way, scrolling is the only option for searching these lists on the Favorites page. My Additions is the final category on the page, keeping track of all the cheeses you’ve added to the library.
Fromage isn’t perfect, but it seems to be the best option for as a cheese reference app. Information delivered in a simple but attractive design makes for an easy and efficient reference guide on the go. Not every cheese app delivers a photo of each cheese like Fromage does. The ability to add your own notes and build lists for shopping creates a more personal experience. Sharing cheeses via email is nice, but enabling Twitter and Facebook would be better.
My last caveat with Fromage is that the search feature only works for exact cheese names, not content within the labeling or note. If you want to know all the cheeses made by Haystack Mountain, a search reveals only one. Scroll through the list of cheeses by region and there are three made by Haystack. Also, it would be great to have the ability to search the library for cheeses based on the selection of 70 Tasting Keywords like “buttery” or “grassy” available in the Notes section. Fromage is a good resource, but a smarter search engine would bump this app from good to great.
I will continue to use Fromage as a personal cheese journal and reference. If you’re a cheese enthusiast like me you’ll enjoy browsing through the cheese library offline just to kill time. An app so full of interesting cheese facts and customizable lists is definitely worth the $1.99 price tag.