Sydney's Best Fromageries

Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday October 31, 2000

Helen Greenwood

GPO Produce, Martin Place, Sydney, 9229 7704.

Below the old-new GPO, in an underground vault, are tiers of cheese displayed like crown jewels and kept at 12 degrees. Here you will find a taleggio mauri, a Meredith blue or a Pyengana cheddar. The cheese-meister, Ian Thompson, will guide you towards the best. There is a nice selection of traditional favourites such as grana padano and a 21/2-year-old gouda, mountain cheeses from Austria and Switzerland plus the better Australian makers.

Simon Johnson, 181 Harris Street, Pyrmont, 9552 2522.

Both of Johnson's shops (the other is in Woollahra) have fromageries but this is the original (pictured right). Johnson supplies many of the good restaurants and delis around town. There is always a selection from the best Australian farmhouse makers and treats that usually appear on restaurant menus such as St Maure de Tourraine or Pouligny St Pierre goat cheeses, a Somerset Chewton's 24-month cheddar, and a first-class grana padano.

The Cheese Shop, 797 Military Road, Mosman, 9969 4469.

Michael and Barbara Jeffery are aficionados who keep up to 150 cheeses in superb condition ranging from beauties like Ossau-Iraty, a sheep's milk cheese from the Pyrenees, and Roi des Vallees, half sheep's and half goat's cheese, to a lovely Brie de Nangis or the hard-to-find appenzeller. About 80 per cent of the cheeses are Australian, many made from non-cow milk. There is goat's from Kervella and a new sheep's cheese from Cowra, which also does a firm French-style yogurt.

The Dairy Shop, shop 121, St Ives Shopping Village, 168 Mona Vale Road, St Ives, 9144 1613.

Brian Fine stocks up to 150 cheeses in his shop, about 70 per cent of them Australian. In this part of town, customers lean towards French and English cheeses as well as the better locals, so he always has on hand a good English stilton, wensleydale, imported English cheddars and smoked applewood. His French bries, Renomee and Le Chateau de Francais, give the locals a run. Fine matures bries in his cool room and encourages his customers to eat them when they are nice and runny.

Blackwattle Deli, shop 8a, Sydney Fish Markets, 9552 3591.

Half of this open deli is cheese, more than 200 different types. While Michael Papahatzis is Sydney's biggest seller of King Island cheeses, he also harbours a passion for the smaller local producers. He stocks Yarra Valley goat's cheeses, Gippsland Blue, Top Paddock's Shadow Blue and wine-washed rind, Jindi brie and triple cream, Margaret River wax cheddar and Kangaroo Island brie and haloumi and yogurt. As you would expect, Papahatzis is strong on Greek cheeses as well as Italian.

© 2000 Sydney Morning Herald

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