“Give me a good sharp knife and a good sharp cheese and I’m a happy man.”
― George R. R. Martin
There are few foods as rich and satisfying as good cheese. Fortunately, the experience does not discriminate between diners. As M. F. K. Fisher noted, “Cheese has always been a food that both sophisticated and simple humans love.”
Whether you delight in a cheese dish at one of our top-draw restaurants or offer a cheese board with grapes at a barbeque, it’s worth including cheese fresh from our local producers and suppliers. Here’s our showcase of local cheese:
Witches Chase Cheese, North Tamborine
Founded in 2004, the Witches Chase Cheese factory is housed in a large airy complex at one end of Gallery Walk. Witches Chase cheese comes from one carefully controlled dairy: Scenic Rim 4Real Milk, where cows are milked in a robotic system without human handling. Buy a triple cream blue, goats feta, clothbound cheddar and tamembert (their version of Camembert) to share at the venue or to take home to share with friends.
Nimbin Valley Dairy, Nimbin
On the winding road out of Nimbin lies sustainably-run Nimbin Valley Dairy owned by Kerry and Paul Wilson, (who also own Byron Bay Cheese Co). It’s a paddock to plate philosophy dairy farm with approximately 100 free-ranging goats and 80 cows producing cheese free of chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified ingredients. Paul, the cheesemaker, believes that artisan cheesemaking keeps traditions alive. His frequent presence at Gold Coast farmers’ markets has raised awareness of their delicious range of sheep and cow’s milk cheeses.
Kat Harvey, cheesemaker, Nimbin Valley Dairy
A chef by trade, Kat ‘begged’ Kerry and Paul to take her on as an apprentice cheesemaker, pursuing her one true love. Two years later, Kat has a popup stall in James Street, Burleigh Heads from 2pm Fridays to Sundays selling several of the cheeses she’s made at Nimbin Valley Dairy: Byron Bay Nashua, Nimbin washed goat, St Billie and Byron Bay Tintenbar.
Towri Sheep Cheesery, Allenview
A sheep farmer’s daughter, Carolyn Davidson owned a turf farm before starting Towri Sheep Cheese in 2004. Towri’s cheesemaking follows the ewe’s natural cycle, milking daily from May/June to December, the ewes going back to their lambs each day. Using small vat production, our favourite Towri cheeses are the Creamy Blue Ewe and Eweghurt. Sheep milk has high nutritional value, calcium and vitamins, good fats and because it’s naturally homogenised it’s much easier for lactose intolerant people to digest.
Debra Allard, Cheeses Loves You, Upper Buringbar
A cheese maker for about fifteen years, Deb is well known for her cheese-making classes in the Northern Rivers area. She has travelled widely to perfect her craft, honing her skills learning from expert cheesemakers in the UK, France and Italy. Now, with the farm in full swing, Deb makes cheese fulltime, producing about 25 different highly-prized products including ricotta, Mr Squeaky (haloumi), fetish (feta), brie, camembert and blue, as well as other dairy products such as kefir, buttermilk, cultured butter and yoghurt, all small batch and additive free. Already she’s winning awards, such as four silver and a bronze at recent awards, winning medals at the Royal Queensland Cheese and Dairy Competition and as a State Winner in the Delicious Produce Awards.
Tweed Valley Whey, Buringbar
Tweed Valley Whey is an artisan dairy owned by the Harnett and Clarke families. The Harnett dairy farm, located on the lush volcanic soil pastures of the caldera, has been a milk supplier to Norco for the past 100 years. Late in 2018 they opened their cheese factory to the public. The factory collects milk daily from the dairy to pasteurise before Suzanne Harnett makes their single origin cheeses and yoghurt.
Byron Bay Mozzarella Co., Byron Bay
Founded in 2004, Byron Bay Mozzarella Co is 100% Australian owned by the cheese maker and chef Luca and Ryan, aided by consultant Italian cheese masters Valerio and Andrea. Using local milk from happy cows, they produce fresh Italian cheese embodying Italian family culture, such as buffalo mozzarella, bocconcini, fior di latte, scamorza, stracchino, burrata, ricotta and their best-selling haloumi. Due to demand, Byron Bay Mozzarella Co. is presently building larger premises.
Casa Motta, Mansfield
“I stretch by hand my buffalo mozzarella, the traditional Italian way, using only Queensland buffalo milk. That’s why my buffalo mozzarella is tastier and fresher than any industrial or imported ones,” says Italian-born cheesemaker Alessandro Motta. Not only does he produce buffalo mozzarella, burrata and fior di latte using Italian cheesemaking methods for some of Brisbane’s best restaurants and delicatessans, he’s also intent on educating Australians about the cheese culture of his birthplace.
Pandelyssi, Holland Park
Using family recipes handed down from when the family lived in Cyprus, Patrick Kekkou and his son Anthony, a third-generation cheesemaker, churn out some of Brisbane’s best haloumi, fetta and ricotta in their Holland Park premises. They wholesale their cheese to restaurants and delis as well as selling direct to the public.
Fresco, Burleigh Heads
Fresco is our longest-standing cheese manufacturer, founded over thirty years ago. Specialising in Italian and Greek cheeses, Fresco’s cheeses are widely available in many local supermarkets in Queensland. A quiet achiever, Fresco’s award-winning feta, haloumi, bocconcini and baked ricotta are consumed daily by thousands of people on the Gold Coast who are unaware that the cheese is made in Burleigh Heads.
Olympus Cheese Factory, Coorparoo
Using traditional Cypriot recipes, time-honoured traditional methods blended with the Australian style of using non-animal rennet on cow’s milk or buffalo milk, Brisbane’s family-owned cheese manufacturer Olympus has been producing a range of award-winning Mediterranean cheeses since the 1970s: cow’s milk and buffalo milk fetta, ricotta and halloumi as well as natural and Greek-style yoghurt.
“Well, many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese—toasted, mostly…”
― Robert Louis Stevenson III
Fromage the Cow, Milton
You’ll find Brisbane’s first licensed fromagerie complete with a wine bar and café in the historic Smith’s Shop on Milton’s Park Road. With its glass-walled cheese room fronting the store, a café counter of fresh French pastries at a takeaway window and a cosy wine bar with a side door entry, this is the place to eat cheese for every course or to buy cheese to take away.
Melt Brothers, Brisbane CBD
This single product restaurant is dedicated to bringing you the best cheese toastie ever. Turn down Gresham Lane in Brisbane’s CBD to find Melt Brothers. You can order a traditional cheese toastie, or devour a combos such as M.C. Cheesy, complete with Mac ‘n’ cheese, maple bacon, smokey BBQ sauce, mozzarella, cheddar and aioli sauce.
Eight of the Gold Coast’s best cheese dishes
Burrata, made in Apulia, Italy, is one of the world’s most exquisite cheeses. As its delicate shell of mozzarella is broken, the burrata’s filling of stracciatella and cream oozes out. You’ll find the best burrata dishes at Baritalia, Italian Kitchen Co. and Fellini. Labart also serves Stracciatella with fig, cucumber and basil.
There is no other cheese sandwich on the coast to rival The North Room’s very adult delight: the Gruyère Toastie. Thankfully we’re not the only fans, so that it will be on the menu for some time to come.
Potato gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, eaten in Rome on Thursdays as the saying goes, can be found at Lupo. It’s a richly decadent dish.
Fried jamon and mozzarella balls feature on the menus of Bin 232 Bar & Dining and Bin 72. Ham and cheese balls were never quite like this!
Why eat chips when you can dine on Haloumi chips, say the owners of Zeus Street Greek! Newly arrived to Harbour Town Eats, Zeus Street Greek features haloumi on several of its dishes.
It’s the return of the retro at The Kitchen at The Collective with a whole wheel of Mt. Tamborine creamy brie baked with honey and maple, served with berries, walnuts, and garlic croutes.
Pizze Bianche, often topped with ricotta and either mozzarella or provolone cheese instead of a tomato topping, is a specialty of Balboa Italian, where you have a choice of seven toppings.
Flaming parmesan wheel is a regular Wednesday night event at Salt Meats Cheese. Four-cheese casarecce pasta is added to the melting brandy-flamed parmesan cheese, before being served with parsley and cracked black pepper. It’s a dramatic meal preparation. This dish is also featured at Il Verde, Bowen Hills and Salt Meats Cheese, Newstead.
“A dessert without cheese is like a beauty with only one eye.”
– Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savar
Cheese boards in Gold Coast and Brisbane restaurants
Bar Pacino, Brisbane CBD
Coppa Spuntino, Brisbane CBD
Croft House Brisbane, Brisbane CBD
Customs House, Brisbane CBD
Gerard’s Bar, Fortitude Valley
Glass Dining & Lounge Bar, Main Beach
Labart Restaurant, Burleigh Heads
Little Truffle Dining Room, Mermaid Beach
Montrachet, Bowen Hills
Social Eating House + Bar, Broadbeach
The Wine Barrel, Mudgeeraba
“Cheese people are the best people. They give off a glimmer of joy.”
– Kat Harvey, cheesemaker, Nimbin Valley Dairy
Cheese Grocers and Delicatessans
Barbosa Fine Food Deli, Robina Town Centre, Robina
The Cheese Pleaser, 5/158 Adelaide Street, Brisbane CBD
Clayfield Fresh, 823 Sandgate Rd, Clayfield
Golosi Food Emporium, 3/45 James St., Burleigh Heads
Le Fromage Yard, 7/611 Wynnum Rd, Morningside and Market locations
Manolas Brothers Delicatessan, Capri on via Roma, Isle of Capri
New Farm Deli, 900 Brunswick St, New Farm
Penissi, 17 Balaclava St, Woolloongabba
Quince Fromagerie & Cellar, Cornerstone Stores, 570 Gold Coast Highway, Tugun
Rosalie Gourmet Market, 164 Baroona Rd, Paddington
Saamarias Continental Bakery, 16 Hilldon Ct, Nerang
Sourced Grocer, 11 Florence St, Newstead
The Standard Food Co., The Brickworks Centre, 107 Ferry Rd, Southport; 76 Skyring Tce, Newstead & James St, Fortitude Valley
The Stores, 404 Montague Rd, West End
Swiss Gourmet Delicatessen, 181 Boundary St, West End
NOTE: This article was first published in The Cove magazine, August-September 2019. (If we missed you, we’re sorry! Write and tell us your story and we’ll have you covered!)
Photos credited to Zeus Street Grill, Salt Meats Cheese and Byron Bay Mozzarella Co.