Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published February 14th 2015
You can put your trust in cheeses
It is popularly supposed that one is getting old when the policemen start looking young.
I have passed the age when not only do police officers look young but bank managers look as though they had recently graduated into long pants.
I have no idea what it means when Deli owners look as though last week their major worry was getting their homework done in time.
Elizabeth in The Little Deli (Photograph courtesy of The Little Deli)
My best guess is, in the case of Elizabeth from The Little Deli, that it means good things for Guildford.
Elizabeth, who looks young because she is young in years, but is old in experience and knowledge.
She is a fully qualified chef who has worked at Jacksons and the Darlington Estate. Elizabeth started at nearly fourteen as a part-time dishwasher and by dint of dilligence and keenness earned first an apprenticeship and then qualified.
This is all the more remarkable as she has severe, almost crippling, dyslexia although she has honed her memory to near eidetic status.
A trifle of cheese from The Little Deli (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
I'll give you an example - I have been a food writer for six years longer than she has been alive and I love and know a fair bit about cheese - Elizabeth knows a hell of a lot more than I do.
In fact she has made it her business to be intimately familiar with all the lines she sells in her tiny but immaculately clean delicatessen in James Street, Guildford.
A range of deli meats (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
It has been open fewer than six months but already has a serviceable range of local and imported meats, cheeses, oils, jams, jellies, delicacies and treats.
She even stocks something I have been looking for locally in vain for years - goose fat. As far as I know the only importer of goose fat in WA, and Lord knows, I've been looking. Goose fat is essential for the perfect roast potato.
But The Little Deli is more than just a deli offering some of the best, more unusual cheeses I've tasted.
The Little Deli (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
Elizabeth does her research and takes into account the fact that an increasing number of people are vegan, vegetarian, fruitarian or gluten and lactose intolerant, so she caters for them as well with a range of foodstuffs to suit their needs.
Her passion is local produce, so as quickly as possible she is sourcing locally providing the quality is not less than she already sells.
Her imagination ranges far and wide - one of the better ideas being a 'Picnic For Two' hamper for $40 consisting of selection of meats, a fresh, crisp, bagette, a selection of antipasto (olives, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms), a selection of cheeses and suitable accompaniments (quince paste, nuts and dried fruit) together with a sweet treat and soft drinks. Give her two hours notice and you can take one of those to the riverside, open-air cinema or just eat out under the stars.
One of the more enchanting things Elizabeth offers is a 'cheese tasting' of her wares. This is free and very well-thought out as she moves you from the mild and more familar through the more exotic to the blue vein strong-flavoured cheese.
She has eshewed the standard Brie/Camembert/Edam/Gouda/Cheddar that you can pick up at any Coles or Woolies - these are some of her picks and recommendations.
San Simón; This is a soft, smooth cow's milk cheese from Galacia that is smoked over fresh birch wood, lending it a tan color and alluring light smokiness, with a buttery, mild, fresh flavour. ($8.40 per 100g)
Ziegenkase: This goat's milk cheese from Amsterdam (pronounced 'ZEE-gen-kah-sa') is produced using traditional techniques and is aged in warm cellars for up to eight months. ($8.40 per 100g)
Onetik Chebris: A firm mixed goat and sheep cheese from the Pyrenees. The flavor is sweet and delicate with hints of olive, hazelnut and fig. ($7.40 per 100g)
Shadows of Blue: A soft blue Australian cheese that is a favourite among non-blue cheese eaters because of its mild luscious texture and delicate flavour. A blind taste-test and you'd swear it was a rich Brie. ($6.50 per 100g)
Some of the range at The Little Deli (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
La Bouche D'Affinois: a very rich double-cream soft cheese made from cow's milk from Lyon, France. It can be described as 40% fat-free and is rich, supple and delicious. ($8.20 per 100g)
Fourme d'Ambert: is one of France's oldest blue cheeses, and dates back to Roman times. It is hand-made from raw cow's milk from the Auvergne region of France, with a distinct, light but complex flavour.
Being hand-made the blue vein is spread through the cheese and does not emanate from wires poked through. ($7.00 per 100g)
All of these will make fabulous solo eating or with fresh or dried fruit and the appropriate wine. You will notice that the prices are very moderate given the quality of the cheese and only slightly more than you would pay at a supermarket for a vastly inferior processed equivilent.
This is by no means the whole of The Little Deli's range of cheese but a tiny examplar. In fact, the range of the shop, given it's size, is huge and well worth an exploratory visit.
Do yourself a favour and visit Elizabeth and The Little Deli just have a chat about cheese and try one or two while you browse.