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Local Cheese Experts Share Their Cheese Tips (Danks Street Cheese Affineurs)

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January 21, 2017 / European / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Eat the Globe sat down to have a chat with Penny and Eliza from Danks Street Cheese Affineurs in Sydney (Australia), who stock over 60 different types of delectable local and international cheeses.

(Left: Penny, Right: Eliza)

 

What inspired you to start Danks Street Cheese Affineurs?

Penny:
I have always enjoyed working in the food industry. I started off in some roles in pastry, then butchery. After that, I started my journey with cheese - I have worked in many cheese roles, from retailing cheese in the Sydney Fish Markets, to working with cheese in London. An opportunity came up for me to be part of the Danks Street Produce Merchants space and to start the cheese shop in there. It's a great space and so I decided to take up the opportunity! Cheese continues to inspire me, I've been in the industry over 12 years now, and every day, I still love coming in and being around my favourite thing in the world - cheese!

 

What's your point of difference?

Penny:
Because I've been in the industry a while now, I think the key for me is providing the best service possible. For me, sometimes that means knowing when not to sell something to a customer, when you know that a different product would suit better, or if the product they want is not ripened yet, we would suggest another cheese instead.

 

What are your favourite cheeses and why?

Penny:
Cheddar from West Country UK & Colsten Bassett Stilton.
I enjoy the classic cheese flavours.

Eliza:
Ossau Iraty & Colsten Bassett Stilton.
I enjoy the sweetness and nuttiness of these cheeses.


Cheddar cheese is a relatively hard, sometimes sharp-tasting type of cheese made using cow's milk, originally from the British village of Cheddar in the UK.

Colston Bassett Stilton is made using cow's milk in the town of Stilton in the UK. It is made the traditional way using hand-ladled curd and rennet, creating a more creamy and full-bodied flavour than other cheeses made with non-animal rennet.

Ossau-iraty is a Franco-Basque cheese made from sheep's milk in France. It is semi-hard cheese with a natural rind. The cheese is ivory white and is creamy and buttery in texture. Flavours tend to be herbaceous, nutty and fruity when produced in winter, while in summer, the cheeses tend to have floral and grassy flavours.

 

If you had to pick a region or country in the world, which place would you say makes the "best" cheese in the world? and why?

Penny:
That's a hard question! I would say the European Alps, like France, Switzerland & Italy. These regions encompass all the cheese styles, and use a mix of different types of milk. The cheese makers often practice "transhumance" (the process of moving livestock from one grazing ground to another in a seasonal cycle) - this allows the cows to eat interesting things, like different Alpine flowers & herbs which gives a unique taste to the cheese produced using the milk from these cows.

That being said, I also have a soft spot for Australian cheeses, and I can see the Australian cheese industry really making a mark on the world stage.

Eliza:
This is a tough question, as for me, each region tends to have a signature cheese. For example, West Country (UK) are renowned for their Cheddar cheese, Normandy (France) are famous for Camembert cheese. Also the Basque region (ie. on the border of France and Spain) is known for their alpine sheep cheeses.                

 

Any interesting facts about cheese you'd like to share with us?

Penny:
Here's a few fun and interesting facts about cheese:

  • The blue colour in blue vein cheese is not caused by putting copper wire in the cheese, but rather piercing the wheels of cheese (with stainless steel 'skewers') which introduces oxygen to the curd allowing the blue mould to bloom.

  • Back in the days, Taleggio cheese was used as a form of currency in Italy. There was a distinct "stamp" that was imprinted on the cheeses to indicate it was a form of currency. When you buy Tallegio cheese, you'll notice that the stamp is still there to continue the tradition - although it's no longer currency, it's still equally tasty!

  • Mimolette cheese is a special cheese which has cheese mites, they burrow into the rind of the cheese, which produces a unique flavour for this type of cheese.

  • In Switzerland, the government controlled the production of cheese for over 100 years (until it was de-regulated in the 1990's) - but prior to that, cheese making was a highly guarded process that was strictly controlled by the Swiss government.

  • The "Fondue" dish was ingeniously invented by the Swiss, as they wanted to increase the purchase of cheese in the country.

 

What are your most popular products? Why do you think they are so popular?

Penny:
Triple Cream cheeses are very popular - both local (Australian) and French. These are bloomy cheeses that have had cream added in the making, creating a luscious, creamy & festive cheese - perfect for entertaining.

I'm also excited that the customers are sharing my passion for Alpine cheeses; Gruyere, Comte and from the newest cheesemaker on the block: Kym Masters at Secton 28 from the Adelaide Hills (Australia).

 

What's the hardest thing about running Danks Street Cheese Affineurs?

Penny:
The humidity of the fridges in the Sydney climate is challenging, some products are ripening too quickly and others are growing bloomy surfaces that are unwanted - but we manage this by rotating the stock around, and turning the cheeses, and doing our best to control the humidity levels - we are looking forward to winter when the climate suits the cheeses better.

 

What's the most enjoyable thing about running Danks Street Cheese Affineurs?

Penny:
Well, I get to hang out with cheese all day, what could be better than that? I enjoy looking after the cheese, and checking in on everything. Cheese is a living product, and they are constantly changing, so it keeps me on my toes! I also love talking to customers and sharing stories about each of the cheeses.

 

Are there any cheesy recipes you'd like to share with the Eat the Globe community?

Penny:
Check out my Insalata Caprese recipe here.

Eliza:
Check out my Tartiflette recipe here.

 

At Eat the Globe, we love to inspire people to try new cuisines and learn about new cultures, what's the top 3 places you would like to visit (whether locally or abroad)? and why?

Penny:
There are certain places in the world that give me the feeling of "home", my top places are:

  • Italy (I really love the food there)
    - I don't think I've had a dud meal there. Working at the Danks Street Produce Merchants gives me the Italian market feeling without having to get on a plane.
  • Nepal (this is like my second home, I've been there a few times now)
    - I love the Dal Bhat (rice and lentils) and alpine cheese there made from Nak (female Yak) Milk and Buffalo Milk.
  • UK
    - I'm half Scottish, so I feel a great affection for the people and landscapes there & I used to live in London, so I miss all the restaurants and the food scene, which is so diverse.

Eliza:
There's a few areas I haven't been to, and I really want to explore the food there. I really love the region from Japan to Turkey, such as:

  • South East Asia
  • Indian Subcontinent
  • Middle East

 

Where can people find your products?

Penny:
Our shop is at the Danks Street Produce Merchants in Sydney, when you walk in the main entrance, you'll see us on the left hand side about half way down (3 Danks St, Waterloo NSW 2017, Sydney, Australia). We are open Wednesday to Sunday:

 

Do you currently have any special offers you'd like to make our readers aware of?

Penny:
We always have special offers, which we change daily. We also offer free tastings, so feel free to come down and taste a wide variety of cheeses.

You can also follow us on social media to find out about our products and offers:

 

So, what's the upcoming plans for Danks Street Cheese Affineurs, what's on the horizon?

Penny:
We're excited to be launching some cheese tasting events in Feb 2017, watch this space! First one will be on Monday 20th February 2017.


Danks Street Cheese Affineurs

Country: Australia

Province/State: New South Wales

City: Waterloo

Address: 3 Danks Street

Zip/Post Code: 2017

Location Tips: Inside the "Danks Street Produce Merchants" (when you walk in the main entrance, you'll see them on the left hand side about half way down).

Phone: +61 400 804 113

Website:http://www.producemerchan...

Price Guide:$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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