Windows, eyes to the soul of the house; this manor, abode, home, reflected the lights of the late model Citroen rambling up the gravel drive. One then two people alight from the magnificent juggernaut into a night brimming with moonlight. God’s breath teased the tree’s, bestowing upon the pair the heady scent of jasmine mixed with equal measures of hyacinth and lily of the valley.
Gravel crunching with each step, their tinkling laughter filled the ears of her butler while he lit the newly installed electric lights. Exposing the broad veranda to a stark incandescent glare, drawing flying, winged beasties to each warming globe.
1929 had been good to them, the ‘Ladies Fromage’.
Immediately post World War One, the husbands Fromage, both freshly returned to their native Normandy had combined their dairy-farming interests, giving ‘Fromage du Jour’ a total of 53 milking cattle. Within two years this had been increased by four other dairy farming properties, all neighbouring, and now under the sole control of the corporation. Another six years, and the entire fromage fermier, the cheese producing farmers of Normandy, was theirs.
Camembert was the cheese. Their cheese. They made it well and they sold it the world over.
That was 1928.
The ‘Ladies Fromage’ had hatched their dastardly plan in mid 1927. After an evening dining with the esteemed Madame Poisson; champagne had become liqueur, and talk of fashion, the opera, and their planned trip to the Orient. It was then the ladies had changed topic to husbands, business and money. Money, the favoured tipple of the evening, and the limited successes of the men they loved most to despise.
Madame Poisson had explained the unforeseen successes of her late husband’s fleet of fishing vessels, and the multitude of canneries they possessed. Unprecedented as they had been marginally successful, up until he suddenly passed away, going down with his yacht, mysteriously lost at sea, without a single survivor.
Mademoiselle Champagne, a late comer to the party, had explained that ‘coincidentally’ her husband, a fairly large Champagne producer, had passed away when the light plane he was piloting tragically exploded somewhere in the region of the Pyrenees. ‘Crystal’, the champagne she now produced was listed in the top five champagnes created. Prior they had scraped into the top fifty, coming in at forty eighth place.
And so the seed was sown for the ladies fromage.
In February 1929, during an interview with Le Monde Diplomatique, the Ladies Fromage were reported to say how terrible it had been for both the Fromage families, after the sudden sad and heartbreaking deaths of their husbands, both tragically killed, bodies burnt to a fun filled crisp, in a motoring accident en route to Paris.
Late 1929 had Chateaux Fromage brimming with party guests. Strangely it was only highly successful ladies attending, with the Ladies l Fromage presiding. Over the space of ten months, roughly the duration of both being widowed, ‘Fromage du Jour’ had tripled their profits, expanded into the international market, and had become a household name.
Unsurprisingly, there was a distinct lack of ‘husband’ in abundance that night, or ever again to detract from the foot of the ledger.
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