Simon Johnson boutique grocery come gourmet deli is an icon for food lovers and beyond, but it is the Fromagerie that makes it legendary.
More than 100 cheeses from all over the world are available for tasting. Recommended favourites include the Occelli in foglie di Castagno, an Italian cheese made from mainly cows milk, topped up with sheep or goats milk before being wrapped up in chestnut leaves to age for a few years. France’s Langres soft cheese (pictured below) is also a niche favourite, made in the Champagne region with a concave shape to make room for a spritz of Champagne, which is how it’s traditionally served.
Interestingly, the opening of the cheese room was a contentious issue at the time. The optimal temperature for cheese is 7-10 degrees, which is above the strict requirements for commercial refrigeration. After a bit of a legal battle, Simon Johnson was finally approved to launch the cheese room at their desired temperature so we can enjoy the cheeses in their freshest state.
Simon Johnson pride themselves on hiring staff with vast culinary knowledge, so it comes as no surprise that the manager at the Subiaco store is a former chef at Balthazar restaurant. With such cheese expertise, you’ll be leaving the Fromagerie with both an armful of world cheeses and a world of cheese knowledge.
Continuing on the European train, Simon Johnson also offers Cashel Blue Cheese, an Irish cheese 10 years in the making. The story goes that the original cheesemaker crafted the cheese on a whim, only eyeballing the ingredient measurements as she expected it to be the first of many attempts to create the perfect blue cheese. Incredibly, she nailed it on her first go, but as she didn’t write down the recipe, she was doomed to spend the next 10 years attempting to recreate the magic of her first batch. Luckily for us, she eventually did find it again, so we can enjoy it today.
In terms of home-grown cheeses, the ones to watch out for are Holy Goat, an organic Victorian cheese made from the milk of goats who graze on Australian shrubbery, resulting in a salty tasting cheese, as well as Pyengana Cheddar. The latter has been crafted for 130 years on a Tasmanian farm, making it the oldest cheese in Australia.