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FOOD & DRINK

Brisbane's Best Cheese Experiences for Hardcore Cheese Lovers

Eat pasta from a wheel of parmesan, dip bread into a cob loaf filled with fondue or load up a burger with a patty of mac 'n' cheese.
By Laura Dawson
July 04, 2019
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Brisbane's Best Cheese Experiences for Hardcore Cheese Lovers

Eat pasta from a wheel of parmesan, dip bread into a cob loaf filled with fondue or load up a burger with a patty of mac 'n' cheese.
By Laura Dawson
July 04, 2019
  shares

It's possible to live without cheese. Plenty of people do it every day, in fact. They enjoy their Vegemite sandwiches free from the sharp crumbliness of aged cheddar and they wolf down slices of pizza sans molten strands of mozzarella. They also dip fondue forks into pots of olive oil, looking perplexed and feeling rather short-changed — because it's pretty much impossible for a cheese-free fondue to be any good.

To be honest, while it's all well and good to survive without cheese, this list is not for cheese dodgers. This is for people who love cheese, seek it out in all its glory and start planning the cheese platter while they're ordering their entrée. So if you're seeking Brisbane's best cheese spots, read on. And as you visit these fromage joints, be sure to revel in the smell of a perfectly ripe gorgonzola or the heady waft of a ripe truffled brie, knowing that you are on a noble path indeed.

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A STACKED CHEESE PLATTER AT GERARD'S BAR

Tucked off James Street in Fortitude Valley, Gerard's Bar takes its cheese and charcuterie game seriously — whether you like to balance a little of both, or you're really only in it for the dairy. Given that the menu boasts a board called Cheese Dreams, there's no messing around, with the $48 spread featuring a fresh, a blue, an aged and a funky cheese, plus accompaniments. You can also pick from eight varieties yourself, ranging from $10–12. Highlights include the three-month-old manchego, the semi-soft Shropshire blue and a truffle pecorino from Tuscany. Also tempting: the ham and cheese croquettes ($8), as well as the combo of heirloom tomatoes, burrata, pickled garlic and thyme ($18).

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Tim Grey

JAPANESE-STYLE CHEESE TARTS AT HOKKAIDO BAKED CHEESE TART

Among the many, many great qualities of cheese, its versatility is right up there. Cheese can be a starter, a snack on the run, a whole meal or a garnish. And it can be dessert, too — as proven by Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart's decadent eponymous dishA huge hit in Malaysia before making its way around Asia and Australia, HBCT's namesake is a a savoury-sweet three-cheese concoction that comes in a shortcrust shell, and can be eaten either hot or cold. Even better — it's available in original, chocolate and blueberry flavours from the chain's Myer Centre and Garden City stores.

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THE MOUSE TRAP TOASTIE AT MELT BROTHERS

Cheese toasties are never unwelcome. Whether you're hungry, hungover, tired or just can't be bothered to think about anything else, the humble toastie is there for you. And when Melt Brothers opened its grilled cheese kiosk as an homage to the snacks of New York laneways, Brisbanites opened their arms to them. Top on our list is the OG cheese toastie, the Mouse Trap, which is made with two cheeses (mozzarella and aged cheddar), paired with thyme and smeared with a lick of dijon mustard for bite. Flock to the cheese haven in Post Office Square to get it or one of the seven other toasties on the menu.

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CHEESE WHEEL PASTA AT IL VERDE

Ever heard of cheese wheel pasta? It's a thing at Il Verde on Fortitude Valley's King Street. And it's a thing that you probably want to find out more about. Make an advance booking on Tuesday, and you and your beloved (or fellow pasta fiend) can have your pasta or gnocchi stirred up in a big melty wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano ($45) before it's popped on you plate.  Dinner includes am entree, glass of wine and dessert, too, so come with an empty stomach. Non-cheese wheel lovers can also find quite the array of dairy-filled Italian food — from cheese-laden antipasto platters to four-cheese gnocchi.

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A CHEESE TOWER FROM LE FROMAGE YARD'S CHEESE ROOM

Next time you're hitting the markets for some fresh fruit and veg, make sure to make room in your carry bags for a few choice morsels from Le Fromage Yard. This market stalwart can be found from Queen Street to Mount Tamborine and even out at Cleveland — depending on its schedule — or you can order online. Fancy heading to just one spot? Thanks to a bricks-and-mortar setup at Morningside, you can do that too. It doesn't matter what direction your cheese pendulum swings in, you'll find something that pleases you here. From raclette to washed rind and blue to truffled brie, the folks at Le Fromage Yard know a thing or two about cheese, specialising in high quality French and European varieties. Mosey up to the counter and ask them for their recommendation. Or, get indulgent and order a custom-made cheese tower (yes, that's a real thing).

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FOUR-CHEESE GNOCCHI AT SALT MEATS CHEESE

When an Italian place calls itself Salt Meats Cheese, it clearly loves dairy. There's no shortage of it on the chain's lineup; however, heading to Brisbane's Gasworks store is especially recommended every Tuesday. That's when a supremely cheesy variety of gnocchi is cooked up each week, featuring four kinds of everyone's favourite ingredient. There's no simple sprinkling parmesan on top here. The tasty dish also comes straight from the pan to your table, so expect it hot, fresh and gooey. Want more? Wednesdays are cheese wheel pasta and risotto night, too.
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THE MAC 'N' CHEESE BURGER AT MISS KAY'S

There's only one place in Brisbane that serves Mac Daddy burgers filled with mac 'n' cheese. Well, five if you count Miss Kay's different stores in the CBD, Mitchelton, Springwood, Birkdale and the BITE Markets. Whether the Kris Kross joke came first, or the idea for a macaroni and dairy-filled burg, we don't care — not when you're going to put cheesy pasta between two slices of bread. The pop culture-themed, American-style diner's concoction also features a beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, sweet barbecue sauce, mayo and fries. Cheese lovers can also enjoy a poutine burg with haloumi, or a good ol' fashioned cheeseburger of the single or double variety.

THE SIGNATURE CHEESE HAMPER AT THE CHEESE PLEASER'S CHEESE DELI

A long-held love of all things fromage led mother and son team Sharyn and Sebastiaan to open The Cheese Pleaser in 2014. They've since established themselves as a cafe and deli, opening their first permanent digs on Adelaide Street in mid-2017. The cheese hamper from The Cheese Pleaser would make for a superb and well-received gift for any discerning person, or perhaps you just want to treat yourself (fair play). With hard cheese, soft cheese and everything in between, this is one cheese spot you can't miss. And if you're wondering about the accoutrements to accompany your cheese platter, never fear, as they also have a big range of crackers and delights to go with your fromage.

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A VISIT TO THE OLYMPUS CHEESE FACTORY

Got a free morning off and stuck for something to do? Why not spend it educating yourself about the wonderful world of haloumi, ricotta and feta on a visit to the Olympus Cheese factory in Coorparoo. This award-winning family-owned cheese manufacturer is responsible for some of the tastiest cow and buffalo cheeses you're likely to find this side of Cyprus. Every cheese is made to a traditional Cypriot recipe, and quality control is strict throughout the process to make sure every wedge of cheese comes off the production line in superb condition. Learn all about the excellence of Olympus Cheese from Monday to Thursday between 7am and 3pm, and Friday from 7pm til midday.

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WHOLE BAKED WHEELS OF CAMEMBERT AT PIANO BAR

Everyone loves pairing cocktails, live jazz tunes and a glitzy bar vibe. There's only one thing that can make the experience even better: warm, gooey cheese. While Emporium's Piano Bar boasts booze aplenty, including a hefty 14-page drinks list, you'll want to make a beeline here for the whole baked camembert wheel. A reasonable $20 gets you a 150-gram morsel of dairy, plus a sourdough baguette to dip in it, and a pear and walnut salad on the side. If you're after more cheesiness from the eatery's all-day menu — which runs from midday till 10pm — the hotel bar has a cheeseboard, too, which heroes Aussie slices.

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Top image: Salt Meats Cheese.

Published on July 04, 2019 by Laura Dawson

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