For French ex-pat Sarah Thuillet, brand-new fromagerie Emile and Solange is a homage to her grandparents. Thuillet’s grandfather, Emile, was a dairy farmer. Grandmother Solange sold cheese in Normandy, France.
It’s also a move to capitalise on the growing popularity of Albion in Brisbane’s rapidly developing inner north. “For me it was a good location,” she says. “It really made sense to have the cheese shop next door to Vielle Branche.”
Nestled into a small space at the front of the French antique store’s Fox Street premises, Emile and Solange offers almost 50 soft and hard cow and goat’s milk cheeses. The bulk of it is from alpine France and Switzerland, with a handful from Italy and the UK. Local offerings are coming; Thuillet recently travelled to Tasmania’s Bruny Island in search of the right produce.
There’s a small but interesting selection of charcuterie, and a range of tapenades, marinated olives, French mustards and dips.
Thuillet stresses Emile and Solange isn’t just a store for connoisseurs. She is happy to provide detailed information about each cheese, from its terroir and how it tastes, to ways to match and pair it with other foods.
To drive home the authenticity, Thuillet is quick to say the business will be seasonal; you might not always be able to pick up a rare (in Australia), 16-month aged French Beaufort D’Alpage, for example.