This V-Day, we're dialling UP the cheese by enlisting Penny Lawson of Penny's Cheese Shop to hunt down a fromage for every type of date. This edition of the Buffet Gift Guide is illustrated by none other than Anna Vu, a certified cheese lover and artist based in Berlin. You can find more of Anna's work at Good Food Crap Drawing.
Cheese is a great gift that can and should be shared with loved ones. It’s easy-peasy to put an outstanding cheese on a plate and leave it the hell alone. There’s no oven, no recipes and only a little washing up.
The most important point when choosing cheese for friends, lovers and furry friends is to take into account what they like/dislike. This is, after all, not about you.
In my role as cheesemonger I take great pleasure in sending the right cheese home with the right person in order to create memorable moments. However I should also let you know that, while there are some cheeses out there in the shape of a love heart, I do not stock them. Maybe I’m not quite cheesy enough… but I love cheese just as it is. Don’t let cheese be a gimmick. Keep it real and lush and most importantly, delicious.
A cheese for every sort of date, all available at Penny's Cheese Shop in Potts Point, Sydney:
Holy Goat, La Luna - Bring out the big guns with Australia’s Best Cheese (in my opinion), dressed to impress. This is big-statement cheese and the cheese all other cheeses will be judged on forevermore. It’s soft and oozy and goes perfectly with the reason we’re all here. Love.
Berry’s Creek Riverine Blue and Section 28 Primavera - We know each other, we don’t have a need for statement cheese. We also know what we like, so we should have something special to celebrate. A buffalo milk blue (exotic) and a raw milk cheese from South Australia covered in flowers (pretty).
L’Artisan, The Extravagant - Girls (and boys), don your elasticised pants, relax and get your mouth around this triple cream. Rich, buttery and finger-licking good - best shared with friends and bubbles.
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For the Brokenhearted
Gruyere, Cheddar, Raclette and a loaf of bread - Channel your emotion and anger (if you so desire) into grating these hard, bold cheeses. Dust off the Sunbeam sandwich-press and fill your bread slices inside and out with this trifecta. Grill until it’s all a molten mess of gooey cheese and relish the golden, carb-filled hug. If the situation is that you are dumping/breaking up with someone... well, you just don’t say that with cheese.
Best Mate Date
Caciocavallo Silano DOP - My best friend loves loves LOVES hard, fruity, spicy cheeses and this one is all three. I’ll bore her to tears with stories about how “this one time in London…” but I know she’ll have tuned me out, ’cos this cheese is so damn tasty.
Jannei Buche Noir, Cashel Blue and Pyengana cheddar - A cracking selection sure to hit the right notes with anyone’s family. Fresh goat’s cheese, a buttery Irish blue and super delicious fruity Pyengana from Tassie. Serve with olives and fruit.
Are you taking this cheese on a plane to see a lover? Then it should be a hard cheese, they travel better. Maybe a taste of home? Those from Sydney should choose the raw Yarrawa from Pecora Dairy or just a good farmhouse cheddar.
For something stinky enough to be felt and smelt from across the seas, look no further than Epoisses - it’s a big boy aromatic washed in Marc de Bourgogne, meaty and delicious.
Completely Selfish Solo Date
Treat yo’ self - get that La Tur Robiola you’ve been eyeing off and enjoy it all to yourself. Lick the paper clean. It actually makes a mean instant pasta sauce... but it’s better straight from the container - with bread.
Pecora Dairy Bloomy - A little quirky and intriguing, this ewe’s milk cheese, dusted with ash with a wrinkly rind should pique the interest of any secret lover. The name “Bloomy” might be a sign of things to come too.
A Date with Doggo
Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rossa, served with grissini - A stand-out hard cheese that has oodles of flavour served with crunchy treats to share with your shaggy friend. Nothing more delightful than a pooch crunching on a grissini.
Brillat Savarin, Milawa Markwood and Roquefort, served with truffle honey - No expense spared with these three top-shelf cheeses that can span an evening. To add that special “something something”, serve with a touch of truffle honey. Spectacular.