Cheese shops, the unofficial house of worship in any city.
If cheese is the glue to life, then cheese shops are the meaning. Sydney is thankfully filled with these delicious shrines. Some sell tasty blocks of pesto gouda and fudgy cheeses with sweet caramel, or fancy imported Bleu d'Auvergne, and even vegan-friendly cheddar. Stock your pantry, build up your pasta-topping arsenal, and have the goods on-hand for all the sporadic cheeseboard creations.
From fine fromageries on the Northern Beaches to ricotta havens in Smithfield, these cheesemongers and makers should be your first port of call for dairy delights.
Drooling yet? These are the best cheese shops in Sydney right now.
Penny’s Cheese Shop
A one-stop cheese shop in the middle of Potts Point? Say no more. Penny’s Cheese Shop is what Kel Knight is to meat, a purveyor of only the finest. After moving down the road to a bigger shopfront (read: more cheese), Penny's continues the good deed of selling sensational cheeses, from international slabs to handmade farmhouse cheeses, to fromage-loving Sydneysiders.
Owner Penny Lawson is a real curd-nerd (self-diagnosed) with a sweet 20-odd years of wholesome experience in the food industry. A paradox within itself, her fancy cheese shop in one of Sydney’s most affluent suburbs is anything but pretentious and it’s been Penny’s mission—nay‚ life purpose—to make all kinds of cheese accessible to the masses.
There’s an amazing rotating cheese toastie line-up, seasonal cheese selection filled with Penny’s local and imported favourites, and a dedicated cheese cabinet riddled with big blocks of Époisses, aged maffra cheddar, and Bluestone.
Paesanella Food Emporium
If there could be a cheese capital of Sydney, Paesanella Food Emporium would easily be it. Started by the legendary Umberto Somma who arrived in Sydney back in the 60s, Paesanella Food Emporium was a way to introduce traditional, fresh Italian speciality cheeses to Australia. Today, you’ll find this Marrickville institution led by Umberto’s sons, Joseph and Max, and filled with all the bocconcini, mascarpone, stracchino, and malca you could ever imagine. Paesanella Food Emporium is also one of few places in the country where you can throw your money at fresh warm ricotta manufactured daily and freshly made buffalo mozzarella. This one also sports a cafe and pizza bar should you have more time on your hands.
Surry Hills' cheese mecca Formaggi Ocello has moved—but fear not, it hasn't gone far. It's opened right next door, in a bigger space to accommodate its selection of 200 cheeses. Heaven. This rustic emporium stocks endless selections from Italian, French, Swiss, England, Ireland, Holland, Spain, America, and Australian farmhouses. The speciality here is a sling of rare cheeses that have been made in specific seasons and altitudes. If you’re asking yourself how on earth Formaggi Ocello keeps these distinctive cheeses, we hear you. The team here basically air freight fresh cheeses from overseas, which then get packed into Formaggi Ocello’s maturation room, allowing the cheese to age to perfection. The library of cheese here caters to all tastes and budgets so if you thought you might be too out-of-pocket to take home a special cut, you are sorely mistaken.
Panetta Mercato isn’t solely a cheese shop—it’s a grocer that specialises in fresh fruit, veggies, cold meats, fresh fish, and hard-to-find deli items. But as it turns out, this gem also stocks a mega range of local and imported cheese. Panetta Mercato’s fridge is packed to the rafters with Paesanella’s fresh ricotta (you can buy up to a kilo), sliced provolone, and Jarlsberg—all the makings of a perfect deli sando at home.
Fourth Village Providore
The result of over 30 years of collective experience in fine food retail, husband-and-wife couple Peter and Annette Quattroville opened Fourth Village Providore in Mosman, and here you'll find some of Australia’s best cheeses (and produce, for that matter). On-site is a walk-in fromagerie, a delicatessen, fruit and vegetable market, and a pizzeria. The deli here is open from 8am every day of the week and stays open until 6pm every day (excluding Sunday when they shut at 5pm). On the cheese side of things, the walk-in fromagerie is any cheese lover's dream and features temperature-controlled cheeses so you can sample cheese from all around the world just as god intended.
Bondi Junction, Miranda and Hornsby
Deli Fresco started its life as a small delicatessen in Bondi Junction owned and operated by the Barbaro family. This award-winning foodie emporium bears a big reputation for housing continental small goods and the finest of fine cheeses. The shelves here keep a variety of more than 100 local and imported cheeses spanning all different styles, flavours, and textures. Whether you're putting together a Friday night cheeseboard or want to top your staple pasta feast with some Italian parmesan, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Cow, goat, sheep, and buffalo milk cheeses here have been sourced from fromageries in France, Italy, Switzerland, England, Spain, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, and Austria.
For anyone with food intolerances, Deli Fresco is your one-way ticket to enjoying cheese, too, thanks to its generous section dedicated to dairy intolerances, vegetarian alternatives, or reduced-fat substitutions.
Darling Point and Potts Point
While not restricted to the wonder that is cheese, Gourmet Life has a reputation as the boujee caviar, truffle, and cheese delicatessen every adult needs to visit at least once. This place is the ultimate cheese haven and there are three beauties we want you to take note of. The first is Rodolphe Le Meunier's camembert, a mild French cheese that’s easy to pair with pretty much anything. The second is Luigi Guffanti’s mozzarella—a buffalo milk mozzarella made fresh in Italy and imported weekly. The third piece of excellence here is Armonie’s Parmigiano-Reggiano (aged for three whole years). It’s an absolute staple in your pantry—grate over freshly made pasta or really treat yourself and just eat this one alone (plus, it easily pairs with most red wines).
La Boite A Fromages
Longtime cheese fanatics across Sydney have known all about La Boite A Fromages since 2012 (especially if you paid a weekly visit to Frenchs Forest Organic Market). However, if you’re a new passenger on the cheese enthusiast bandwagon, you need to draw your attention over to this palace of deliciousness. La Boite A Fromages sports a retail shop in Balgowlah but also rocks the famous "Cheese On Wheels" stall at various markets across Sydney.
Specialising in European handmade farmhouse cheese and the best around Australia, you’ll find a pretty limited but ever-so eclectic range of cheesy classics and even limited-edition creations. For those looking for specific cuts, there’s a suite of fresh and soft, hard and semi-hard, washed rind, blue, buffalo, cow, ewe, and goat cheese ready for the taking. If a diverse spread is what you’re after, you can opt-in for a "Cheesemonger Selection", which comes loaded with four kinds of cheese, crackers, and quince.
Not sure what to pick? The favourites here are a French raclette set (where you can rent a raclette machine), La Tur robiola, Brillat Savarin, truffle gorgonzola, and the Holy Goat La Luna Ring—pretty much one of Australia’s creamiest cheeses.
Simon Johnson Providore
Alexandria, Northbridge and Woollahra
Cheese might not be the only thing this well-known Aussie providore stocks, but dear dairy gods does it sell some of the good stuff. With three Sydney stores (and two more interstate), Simon Johnson has been providing chefs, restaurateurs, and home cooks with quality goods since the early 90s. And yes, they have a grand cheese selection, stocking everything from artisanal farmhouse cheeses to ripened bries. Each store has a dedicated cheese space, so head in for a browse and we can guarantee you'll walk away with platter-perfect picks.
Simon Johnson's Alexandria store is currently undergoing renovations.
Field Blend Wine & Cheese Store
We love Field Blend Wine & Cheese Store not just because of its seriously sweet facade, but also because this gorgeous shop housing life’s essentials is a no-frills approach to packing your mesh produce bag with a hand-selected variety of both international and local kinds of cheese. Since you really can’t have one without the other, let owners Martina Brazdovicova and Aaron Taylor pick a wine (or two) and grazing box for you, they stock all varieties for every occasion, taste and budget. And not that you asked but yes, they also whip up some of the best coffee in Sydney thanks to a very handy La Marzocco machine.
The Stinking Bishops
Arguably one of Sydney’s most delectable cheese experiences, The Stinking Bishops on Enmore Road has been wooing cheese lovers since it opened in 2014. Whether you’ve dropped in to collect a hard-to-find washed rind to impress your mates for a home dinner party or you’ve dined in and sipped pinot while tucking into a five-cheese toastie or a decadent smoked mozzarella mac n’ cheese, this cheesy place is nothing short of iconic.
It oozes cheese royalty, and you can pretty much create your own DIY cheese board and choose from 40+ hand-selected artisanal cheeses. All come with quince paste, grapes, poached peach, a basket of bread, wholemeal crackers and olive oil crackers (optional GF crackers as well)—naturally. If you’re not dining in, the dedicated cheese shrine is the way to go. You’ll find a mega letterboard above the counter packed out with white mould, hard, semi-hard, and washed rind variables, plus a handful of meat selections down the bottom for good measure. Alongside individual cuts, The Stinking Bishops also whips up cheese hampers perfect for even the most indecisive.
Monte Fresco Cheese
While Monte Fresco Cheese is considered one of the newer kids on the chopping block (having started back in 2015), there’s nothing new about the cheese craftsmanship here. Sam Montalto is the cheesemonger behind this one and his family bears generations of skilled cheese artisans who have been honing and perfecting their skills for half a century. Their award-winning ricotta is the star product, having one several gold medal awards at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show; however, you’ll still find an array of highly sought-after bites like caciotta, feta, and halloumi. And trust us, you'll want to order boxes of their cannoli.
The Artisan Cheese Room
The Artisan Cheese Room is Sydney’s answer to a world of cheesemaking that stems from the traditional ways of making cheese. The blocks here have been sourced from all around the world and get maintained within the temperature and humidity-controlled cheese room for maximum tastiness.
The line-up of cheeses here usually changes with the seasons but, at any one time, the famous cheese room stocks around 60 types, plus any cheese-related tools and utensils like raclette machines and fondue dishes. The cheese affair here looks like various cheese hampers, cheese boards, cheese gift boxes as well as cheese wedding and celebration cakes (you read that correctly). You can buy the likes of gooey burrata here at $9 a pop or take your tastebuds on a tasting safari with the 13-strong cheese hampers, including ones paired with beer or wine and a vegan one.
Le Petit Marché
This heaven-on-earth delicatessen in sunny Newport on the Northern Beaches is well worth the journey (lucky you if you live nearby). Like a little trip to France without needing to whip out your passport, here you'll find a selection of hard-to-find French cheese and charcuterie, plus boutique French wines, Champagnes, French jams, organic pasta, truffle oils, pâté, and so much more. Le Petit Marché is where you go when you want to prepare the most impressive cheeseboard—think creamy goat's cheese from the Loire Valley, aged comte, and more.
The Grate Cheese Co.
You’ll usually find this family-owned cheese business popping up in Cronulla markets and they whip up nothing but the tastiest cheese platters and cheese stacks around. Pretty much everything is good here, but there are a few rare bits and bobs you should crack into. The Great Cheese Co. just so happens to stock "Ski Queen", a Norwegian full-fat whey cheese with a fudge-like texture and a sweet caramel flavour. They also peddle pesto gouda which gives off smooth and buttery vibes with a mild basil aftertaste.
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Image credit: Simon Johnson Providore, Penny’s Cheese Shop, Paesanella Food Emporium, Fourth Village Providore, La Boîte A Fromages, Simon Johnson Providore, Stinking Bishops, The Artisan Cheese Room, Le Petite Marché