Sydneysiders don’t really need another excuse to eat cheese, but we’re going to give you a couple anyway.
They include Switzerland’s greatest export melted and dolloped onto your plate, a cheese wheel fried in a pan and drizzled with honey for a perfectly balanced salty-sweet flavour, and a couple of fromageries to visit that know their comté from their gouda. And if you’re really into learning more about how one of life’s greatest pleasures is made, you can take a class.
Black Bottle’s fromage in a box
European-style Darlinghurst bar Black Bottle’s fromage-in-a-box does what it says on the tin (or box, as it were). It’s a wheel of Fromager des Clarines, a French cheese baked with white wine and rosemary until it’s perfectly gooey, served in a box. The cheese comes with an assortment of cured meats, slices of baguette, roast potatoes and lettuce for dipping, so you can make a meal of it. Pair it with one of the bar’s wines, or if you’re there between 5pm and 7pm, a $5 Aperol spritz. The oozy fromage is only available on Wednesdays and will set you back $39 per head (minimum two people).
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Ocello’s raclette night
Switzerland is known for three things: snow-capped mountains, milk chocolate and raclette, a semi-hard cheese that is fairly unremarkable until it’s grilled under direct heat. Once that happens it develops a sweet, nutty flavour and a consistency that means it can be scraped onto your plate. It’s best enjoyed with crusty bread, wine, and some condiments to cut through the richness. That’s what is happening at Surry Hills’ very fine fromagerie Ocello at its raclette night on June 13. It’s serving three dishes with three different types of the cheese melted and scraped over the top. Each course comes with a matched wine, and each cheese will be accompanied by an explanation about its background, style and production. The dinner costs $120 per person and includes wine. Tickets here.
Bistro Papillon’s soiree raclette
Also scraping hot, gooey cheese from a wheel straight onto food is Bistro Papillon. The French CBD eatery is hosting its raclette soirees on the first and third Monday of each month until September. It involves two courses. The first is a choice between French classics such as escargot baked in garlic and parsley butter, chicken liver parfait, or soupe à l’oignon (onion soup). The second is the pièce de résistance: raclette scraped from the wheel onto your plate. It’s served in the traditional way, with an assortment of cured and smoked meats, potatoes, baguette and condiments. It’s $55 for two courses and you can book your seat here.
Tramsheds X Omnom Cheese – Cheese Masterclass
Tramsheds’ Artisan Lane will host two cheese-making masterclasses with Omnom Cheese Making in June. Over multiple dates throughout the month, stretch, fold and ball up your own pillows of milky burrata and bocconcini while sipping on sparkling wine. You’ll take home almost one kilogram of cheese and learn how to make it in your own kitchen. And if haloumi is more your style, on June 21 there will be a haloumi- and chevre-making course, also with wine and a cheesy meal at the end. The burrata course costs $85 per person and the haloumi course $120 per person.
The Apollo’s saganaki with honey and oregano
Greek Potts Point eatery The Apollo also serves a melted cheese dish, albeit with a Greek spin. Its kefalograviera saganaki is kefalograviera (a hard cheese) cooked in a frypan, drizzled with honey, sprinkled with oregano and squeezed with lemon. At The Apollo it’s served in the frypan to keep it hot, which owner and chef Jonathan Barthelmess reckons is key to its greatness. Can’t make it to Potts Point? Here’s the recipe.
Penny’s Cheese Shop
Have you ever been into a cheese shop and been overwhelmed with choice? It’ll happen to you at Penny’s, but luckily there’s a fromage fiend on hand to help you cope. Penny Lawson wants to make cheese accessible and fun and will happily give you advice on which of her seasonal curds to choose. Plus, she takes the offcuts and stuffs them between two slices of bread for what Broadsheet Sydney editor Sarah Norris reckons is the best toastie in the city.
Newtown’s Stinking Bishops knows that wine and cheese go together like … wine and cheese. And it does both with aplomb. Build your own cheese board and it’ll come with quince paste, grapes, fig and walnut rolada, bread and crackers. Match it with a glass or bottle of wine, or one of its house-made sodas. If you’re too busy to sit and eat, pick up one of its takeaway cheeses – many of which are from France, Spain, Italy and the UK.
Mould: A Festival of Cheese
Mould is very literally a festival dedicated to cheese. Goat’s cheese, feta, haloumi, cheddar, blue cheese and gin-washed cheese are among the 60 types of curd included in your ticket price. Plus, you can buy glasses and bottles of wine from P&V, and Willie Smith’s Cider, Bruny Island Beer and Black Market Sake to help your washed-rind down.