On Wednesdays I have this little ritual of going to Formaggi Ocello at the growers markets at the Sydney Entertainment Quarter (formerly known as Fox Studios). I relish in sampling some of the finest cheeses from Europe and Australia, my taste buds abuzz from enzymatic activity….like a glass of bold aged red. Among my favorites are the Truffle infused cheese from Italy, over-ripe creamy Brie from France and the fresh ricotta from Italy - one of the few full fat ricottas still available in Australia.
This week I enquired about raw milk cheeses (which are richer in enzymes, micro-nutrients and more digestible) and the following varieties are available:
- "C2" from Bruny Island, Tasmania. This only recently hit the markets (about 2 weeks ago). This is an aged hard cheese that is incredibly spicy and flavoursome. At $140/kg the price tag reflects the taste and care that has obviously gone into making it. Very much a special occasion cheese.
- "Bra Duro" from North Italy. This is an very salty aged hard cheese. It was served to me with Truffle-infused honey which offset the saltiness of the cheese and sent me into seventh heaven. At $55/kg it is much more affordable.
- a number of the Swiss cheeses are made from raw milk including Gruyere ($59/kg) and Appenzeller.
- the well-renowned Italian Parmigiano Reggiano ($55/kg).
As an aside, I sell Gruyere and Reggio to my clients and regular customers from home at $40/kg (much less than retail prices).
Ocello also has a store in Surry Hills. Occasionally I buy cheese from David Jones for convenience (it's quite pricey but has a great selection and I often buy what's on sale/special. Check out the Lincet de Bourgogne from France- it's exquisite). And of course home made cream cheese is dead easy and super cheap to make (enrol in one of my lacto-fermentation courses to find out how).
In addition to its inclusion in a cheese platter, Gruyere is famous as a melting cheese e.g. in omelettes and soufflés. Here’s how I use it to make a super simple omellete:
Beat eggs (allow 1-2 per person) with 1-2 tablespoons of cream or milk with hand held blender. Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan on low heat then pour in egg mixture and a handful or two of grated or shaved Gruyere. Cook the underside of the omellete on the stove top for 5 mins then transfer to the oven under a heated grill element to cook the top side until golden brown. For variation, add shaved ham and/or vegetables (eg thinly sliced zucchini and asparagus spears) after pouring in the egg mixture and before adding the cheese. A great weekend breakfast.
Entertainment Quarter growers markets are open every Wednesday 10am-3:30pm. Check out the French man (whose name escapes me) who makes and sells pastured fed salamis. There's 1 or 2 certified organic produce stands every week and the florist stall sells what I think are probably the cheapest flowers in the Eastern suburbs.
Smile and Say Cheeeeeese!