Happy Monday, everyone! Over a month ago, I encountered a gorgeous tableware company, Merdinger House of Design, that I am FINALLY able to share with you on the blog! I’ve been lucky to know many makers and artists, and love learning about what inspires all of them. Of course, no blog post is complete without cheese, so I present to you Le Régalis, a creamy ewe’s blue cheese from southwest France.
Chatting with Doron Merdinger, the designer behind it all, offered a great window into the creative process. The foundations for his current work in tableware and jewelry were laid early; his father was a master silversmith in Israel. As a youngster, Doron constantly played with everything around him. He wanted to take things apart and understand their components, including a Swarovski crystal chandelier (his parents did not always approve of his tinkering!). At his father’s bidding, Doron studied physics and mathematics in school, and later worked for the family silversmith business.
Breaking away from the family enterprise ten years later, Doron found himself free to create his way. Doron’s approach to design is at once mystical and methodical. For him, everything has already been conceived, and is waiting in the universe to be identified and realized. Identifying designs is more likely to happen when we are receptive to the world around us, and when we are free to play, and so Doron continues to tinker and explore.
Once Doron identifies a design, he relies on computer imaging to translate designs into reality as accurately as possible. His signature “Arabesque” motif is an example of an intricate ancient design being interpreted new ways, using modern technology. I can imagine my table set with “Arabesque” plates at the cheese course, and every other course! Maybe one day!
Speaking of cheese—my cheesemonger Kate pointed out Le Régalis bleu de brebis during my last cheese shop visit. It’s a ewe’s milk cheese made in the Gascogne region of France. Its name, Régalis, alludes to “Mons Régalis,” which refers to the name of its city of origin, Montréjeau, which is Gascon for “Mont-Royal.” It comes coated in wax to retain all of the cheese’s moisture. I loved the cheese’s deep sapphire blue and bone white paste. Its smell is reminiscent of miso paste. Tasting it, I LOVED the mouthfeel of Régalis. It felt like soft serve ice cream, bursting with flavor, then mellowing out and melting away. Le Régalis certainly tasted something like miso, but I sensed something sweet like blackberries and heavy cream as well.
I paired Le Régalis with Sweet Wino-Onion Jam from The Jam Stand in New York. The red onions and merlot stand up to that full miso-like flavor while teasing out the cheese’s sweetness beautifully.
Thank you, Doron, for sharing a bit of your design philosophy and work with me! Thank you, Kate, for your consistent good cheese counsel!
If you like this post, check out my photo session with, Madelene Farin, Linda Fahey, and Shannon Kaye for more table inspiration!
Merdinger House of Design provided me with the plate used in today’s photo session. The Jam Stand provided me with today’s jam sample. I purchased Le Régalis at Gourmet & More in San Francisco. All opinions are my own.