Even before deciding on the name for Cornelius Cheese, cheesemonger Matt Steele knew a club was part of the plan. He wanted to implement the type of program you might find in a bricks-and-mortar shop, where customers meet and engage in discussions about their purchases and receive exclusive offers.
Currently an online store that delivers nationally, the new club is also open to cheese-lovers Australia-wide. “We wanted to create a subscriber-based service, so we could offer exclusive products to people who really want them,” says Steele.
Once a month, Steele sources three featured cheeses from across Australia and the world to send off to members. A few days later he lets people know what’s coming to them, allowing them time to come up with any questions prior to the monthly get-together.
The meetings, which Steele equates to book-club meetings (but with your tastebuds now the guests of honour), are held as Google Hangouts lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on how the discussion evolves.
“I ask people to submit and vote on the questions they want answered in each session,” explains Steele. Each session starts off with a short description of the background of the selection before leading into the discussion.
“Even after seven years of cheese,” says Steele, “I’m still learning new things every day. There is so much information to share.”
This small, curated experience allows Steele to really celebrate the special nature of the products he acquires, and to chat to people with a similar passion. He was recently offered a tasting of one of Australia’s rare King Saul raw-milk blue cheeses from Udder Delight in South Australia. Allowed only one wheel, Steele was pleased to share it with customers who truly cherished it.
“It sold out in 20 minutes,” he says happily.
Members of the Cornelius Cheese Club can expect other exclusive offers such as member discounts on regular products, such as cheese-wheel cakes.
Membership is $60 monthly plus packaging and shipping costs.