Day in the Life: Tenaya Darlington

The local author, cheese authority and brains behind gastronomic blog Madame Fromage shares her favorite things.
Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

I wake up just before dawn, stretch for 20 minutes, and then fix a cup of Steap and Grind’s Black Tea with Coconut with a slosh of Green Aisle’s raw milk. By 8 a.m. I’m on Google Hangouts with my brother, André. We’ve written two books together, The New Cocktail Hour and TCM’s Movie Night Menus.

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

I love boldly herbaceous cocktails. In our latest book, we included a recipe called “Art of Choke.” It includes Cynar, an amaro made from artichokes.

My cheeseboard must-haves include an exquisite loaf of crusty bread — usually from High Street — and a killer jar of preserves. I’m crazy for Happy Cat Tomato Jam from Headhouse Farmers’ Market, and I live on dates from the tiny grocery behind Al-Aqsa Mosque in Kensington.

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

My grandparents invented a secret language and wrote a dictionary together when they were first married. It lives in my writing desk and reminds me that I come from a long line of creative weirdoes.

Big earrings are my weakness. I usually find them at Lost + Found in Old City or at Reading Terminal Market.

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

To unwind, I pop into Root in Fishtown for their perfect gin and tonic. I pamper myself at Southampton Spa, a Russian and Turkish bathhouse in the Northeast. It’s not fancy, but I relish the chill vibe. I go with friends, and we’ll finish the day at nearby restaurant Uzbekistan.

When I moved to Philly in 2005, I stepped into Di Bruno Bros. on 9th Street, and it changed my life. I resolved to eat my way through the store — it took three years — and stopped in each week for cheese lessons from the mongers. Now, when I travel, I seek out a handmade cheese board or a cheese knife. They’re my favorite souvenirs.

Published in the March 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.