It seems that gourmet cheese is high on the current food trend popping up in signature restaurants and markets everywhere. But I guess, when has it never not been popular? The Cheeseboard, is a new cheese focused popup located in Stafford in Brisbane.
The shop is the creation of Wendy Downes, someone who shares a true love, passion and extensive knowledge of cheese. Wendy is an affineur and cheesemonger responsible for specialising in making and maturing cheese in a cellar or climate-controlled room. Such is her devotion to cheese that she even travelled to France to complete her affineur training.
Having grown up on a small farm in Northern New South Wales, she left her previous life as a Planner in State and Local Government and as a Consultant to follow her bliss for life as an affineur. Sounds romantic and enviable, doesn't it?
What varieties of cheeses and accompaniments do they have? I'll admit that I am not an expert when it comes to cheese. Standard cheddars are about as far as I usually venture. So it was an escape into something new when I encountered varieties including:
Cultured butter and creme fraiche made by the Tom Larcono; and Little White Goat Cheese Persian Fetta.
Wendy has small samples on offer of several varieties on a cheeseboard. I asked her whether she had a favourite and she admitted that that is like trying to choose your favourite child.
It's an added bonus if you are there when the raclette machine is fired up (usually on a weekend) and can watch it bubbling the cheese into toasty melty deliciousness. Yes really. Seeing is believing. A small number of cheese boards, wafer and accessories are also available for purchase.
Masterclasses and Events
Along with retail sales from the shop, the Cheeseboard offers masterclasses where Wendy shares her extensive knowledge with information about Australian cheese, its history and why it tastes the way it does. Naturally it includes some of Australia's finest cheeses paired with wine. Check the Cheeseboards' Facebook page for upcoming events (some of which are ticketed). For those events, tickets are available in-store or through Eventbrite.
This year Wendy was also invited to be a Steward at the RNA's cheese competition and next year will be an Assistant judge. So if you visit this year's Show, be sure to look out for the prize winning Australian cheeses.
In the meantime, The Cheeseboard is open 6 days per week and is well worth a visit.