Whether you’re looking to impress your guests with the most indulgent, globe trotting cheese board they've ever seen, or you're after one of the funkiest washed rinds ever to accompany a special bottle of wine, these are the cheese focused providores that'll ensure your dairy game in strong.
The best cheese shops in Sydney
Head here for the kind of fromage and fresh fruit and veggies that belong in a Sicilian postcard. There are floor-to-ceiling shelves fit to bursting with preserves, condiments, spices and dry goods that'll make for the perfect accompaniments for ripe burrata and air-freighted Buffalo mozzarella. You'll also find a dedicated cheese room with whole wheels of the good stuffed, plus hand wrapped and weighed wodges that'll fuel your cheese dreams forever.
The larder is very well stocked here and it needs to be. They source their 'nduja, smoked pancetta and salamis from up near Byron Bay; their smoked wagyu and ham from the Barossa; and they make their own rich, crumbly black pudding in house. But it’s the cheeses that are responsible for the queues of turophiles pressing their noses against the glass here. They've got white moulds, washed rinds, intense blues and some of the more interesting hard cheeses getting around. Eat in with a glass of wine if you have time, or get takeaway for a home cheese party.
Open since 2009, Formaggi Ocello was born after a Euro trip inspired couple Carmelo and Sogna Ocello to import the finest and rarest Italian cheeses they could convince customs to let into the country. Since then, the couple have introduced many lesser known Italian cheeses to the Australian market, like the Robiola di Capra and mixed milk Robiola. Although Ocello sells over 200 cheeses, their smoked mozzarella is the shop’s real treat, a rarity even in most Italian regions. Coated in a soft, smoked shell, the mozzarella’s creamy filling is worth the slightly hefty price tag.
This deli-bar-bistro – an offshoot of the Porteño family – is where you can order up a perfectly chilled Martini in a tin, as well as a Manhattan and a Cosmopolitan. Other tinned goods you can take home include Europe’s finest seafood and vegetables (Ortiz, La Belle-Iloise) co-mingle with Continental’s house-made preserves, pickles and sauces. In the fridges you'll also find triple-cream Bries, melty washed rinds and sharp blues plus cured meats. They do a swift trade in triple creams seamed with truffle, and if the hard wheel wrapped in chesnut leaves is in stock, buy it.
These guys were one of the first pioneers to bring Italian cheeses to Australia – they’ve been making traditional mozzarella in their Marrickville-based shop since 1958. Umberto Somma and his wife Teresa originally opened Paesanella, and sons Joseph and Max now carry on the shop’s legacy. It’s where you go for quality bocconcini, cherry bocconcini, fior di latte, burrata, mascarpone and ricotta, all made in the Marrickville deli.
The latest addition to this East Sydney enclave of deliciousness is Penny's Cheese Shop, making it even easier to have a cheeseboard for dinner. The deli is run by Penny Lawson, who you may have come across selling beautifully-aged French cheeses at markets and stalls across Sydney. Now she's got permanent digs with cold rooms filled with local and international fromage, like the alpine Section 28 Monfote, a Pecora Dairy Bloomy (so wrinkled and lactic) and a mixed milk robiola, plus the necessary accoutrements like honey, crackers, bread and quince paste.
Bring an overcoat to the Glebe Point Road deli, because you're gong to want to stay in the walk-in refrigerated cheese room for as long as possible to linger over truffle pecorino and wedges of nutty Reblochon from the French alps. Once you're stocked up wander back outside and grab freshly sliced mortadella and bresola, then let the friendly staff talk you into buying an orb of ripe burrata to go with your sliced meats.
Gourmet Life is Australia’s number one place for caviar and truffles, and retail customers can get them here at wholesale prices (mind blown). That’s because owner Josh Rea has created a shrine to delicacies from around the globe (think French herbs, high-end Italian cheese, fresh European mushrooms). Plus, you can order luxe gift hampers. If you're impressing the in-laws with your gastronomic curation, this is where you want to be getting your cheese.
Sydney’s best known providore may be harsh on the hip pocket but stocks products you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. This is where to go for that very specific European cheese for a Silver Spoon dish you're testing out, or if you want to treat yourself to the most baller brunch possible with caviar. Prefer sweets to savoury? They stock Valrhona chocolate, and if you want to live like you're in a French market village, why not pick up some fancy preserves and a woven basket while you're here.
They may be known for baking up one of the city’s best cheesecakes, but if you wander over to the deli part of this Italian providore, you’ll be impressed by a seriously great selection of meats, cheeses and snacks. Order up hunks of rich gorgonzola, cacciatore salami, sharp pecorino romana, buttery green olives, bowls of ricotta and stuffed peppers. If you’re hosting a party these guys will also put together a mean charcuterie for you. Pop next door to buy some gelato or tiramisú and you’ve got a tasty Italian feast ready to go.