Cheesemongers – finding and talking with these cheese heros

Stepping into the cheese cave at Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder is like stepping into an Alladin’s cave. Stacked on shelves, lolling on slabs of wood and marble, crowding into every nook and cranny is a panolpy of cheeses. Earthy, subterranean smells enveloped me and I felt cheese to the bone. I felt transported to France and loved it.
Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder

This was my second cheese stop in Melbourne and like La Latteria it had friendly staff and generous tastings. I could have whiled away hours in that cave, with cheesemonger Nadia slicing, smearing and slivering me through their cheeses. I sampled the velvet wrinkles of Australian La Luna from Holy Goat, a French pasteurised Camembert whose cauliflower flavours tasted like raw milk and the Swiss L’etivaz, a alpine beauty made between May and October.

This is the marvel of talking with a cheesemonger. Nadia shared which cheeses she thought best, she told of their origins, and steered me away from lesser cheeses. Along side cheese makers, cheesemongers are my cheese heroes.

But it can feel quite daunting to engage with them at first. I know it was for me. So here are some hints on how to talk to a cheesemonger from Tenaya Darlington aka Cheese courtesan.  I love her blog, she’s another of my cheese heros.

Cheese Courtesan’s tips for talking to a cheesemonger

  • Pretend the cheesemonger is Yoda. Cheesemongers tend to be wise and gentle creatures. Look for one with hairy ears.
  • Lay out your weaknesses. The cheesemonger is like a guidance counselor. She’ll probably ask you what kind of wine you’ll be serving and whether you have an adventurous palate. Pick red or white, then say, “Yes.”
  • Always eat the sample. Quite often the cheesemonger will join you. If you want to be schooled on cheese, furrow your brow and say, “Hmmm…what am I tasting?” Then the cheesemonger will say something like, “Well, I get a little butterscotch on the front end and a hint of pineapple on the finish.” Then you’ll know you are in the presence of a master cheese taster.

These are just my favourite three tips, check out her post for more:
http://madamefromageblog.com/2012/how-to-talk-to-a-cheesemonger/

So Kiwi cheese lovers I recommend finding a cheese monger and asking them for advice. And to help you I’ve  put together a list of places where you can try cheese and buy it by the slice.  Do you know of others? Let me know so I can add them to my list.

Wellington
Le Marche Francais – Thorndon and the City Market
On Trays Food Emporium– Petone
Evansdale cheese at Hill St Market in Thorndon
Bordeaux Bakery in Thorndon Quay

Auckland
La Cigalle French Market in Parnell
Nosh Food Markets

Waikato
Over the Moon in Putararu

Christchurch
Canterbury Cheesemongers

Blenheim
BV Gourmet

5 thoughts on “Cheesemongers – finding and talking with these cheese heros

  1. Hi Lucy

    All good – a nice blog Never got to La Latteria , unfortunately .

    Would you mind changing the spelling of my cheese stall at Hill St to Evansdale , NOT , Evans Bay .

    Thanks for that ,

    Kind regards ,

    Sally Carman

    On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 7:46 AM, Life and cheese wrote:

    > ** > Lucy from Life and Cheese posted: “Stepping into the cheese cave at > Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder is like stepping into an Alladins cave. > Stacked on shelves, lolling on slabs of wood and marble, crowding into > every nook and cranny is a panolpy of cheeses. Earthy, subterranean smells > e”

    1. Oops – fixed now – this is what comes when you try to finish a post at 6am in the morning! I spent too much time weeding my over-grown garden and collapsed on the couch last night nursing gardener’s derriere…plus arms and back and hands!

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