Lifestyle / Food And Drink

Marie-Lais Emond
2 minute read
31 May 2014
10:00 am

Other Side of the City: Award winning cheeses at the Cheese Gourmet

Marie-Lais Emond

As Pawel and I amble into this sunny, hay-scented shop, packed and stacked with my favourite food, I hear a cacophony of voices.

Picture: Pawel Kot.

The voices are not as bad as the embarrassing things they say.

“I came over all peckish”, says one in a blokey way, interrupted by another yammering on with a fake Brit accent: “…infiltrate this place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some cheesy comestibles…”.

I shudder but I’m exchanging greetings with bright-eyed Jo Dick in milkmaidenly white overalls and she hasn’t heard anything odd. The voices seem to be in my head, the cringe-making things people repeat when confronted by cheeses.

And, my gosh, we’re certainly surrounded by them, in a real cheese shop, the only one I’ve ever known in South Africa. I can’t tug my eyes from the choice of 140 cheeses, a range of handmade cowsmilk, goatsmilk, sheepsmilk and buffalo milk wares at the Cheese Gourmet. There are award-winning cheeses I’ve never seen before, names of farms on stick boards to remind me how far we’ve come from days of over-coloured cheddar, gouda and processed cheeses.

After Drakensberg, the first, really South African cheese, came a white version of a “blue”, then Robiola and others from Fairview. Haenertsburg’s Wegraakbosch cheeses came next. I see the latter here. Jo tells me they’re woodfire treated, as she feeds me parings from Augrabies Falls and Indezi River.

It’s hard to pare a creamy, gorgonzola type cheese. As she passes a sample from Williston, I hear someone gurgling, “Oh ho, one of those cheeses that gets up and walks around by itself.” There is no-one except Jo, myself, a young girl choosing cheese treats and a woman who provides chilli biscuits for the shop.

I order a late breakfast of gruyere and mozzarella frittata. Pawel inexplicably orders muesli. A friend arrives and orders frittata too, the brie version. Neither she nor anyone really said, “a little fromage, what?” as I distinctly heard. Our dishes arrive, picture perfect, molten cheeses pooling over set eggs.

I pick up my purchases from the shop and another voice says drily, “Take comfort in the fact that you’re not the only people to come and spend five hours in this shop.” It’s the real voice of Jo’s husband, Brian. I wonder if my apologetic grin looks cheesy.

  • Cheese Gourmet, cnr 3rd Ave and 7th St, Linden.  Telephone: 011-888-5384.

Each week Marie-Lais Emond scouts another urban reach, tasting, testing alternative aspects to pique our curiosity about places and people we might have had no idea about.