I can still recall the first time I walked into the fromagerie at Simon Johnson in Pyrmont. I was working as an office manager in an advertising agency and was sent to buy cheese for Friday afternoon snacks. It was the first time I’d set foot in a cheese room. I had no idea what I was doing or what to buy. But the moment I entered that room I fell in love with cheese all over again. Real cheese. Cheese that actually tastes of the milk it is made from. From stringy melted mozzarella to the crumbliest of cheddars, from delicate fresh cheese to pungent blue veined, I love it all. Cheese is a magical food.
As soon as I discovered The Stinking Bishops I was bugging Dylan to go. Before too much time got away from us we planned a day of feasting. Lunch at Mary’s, nibbles at The Stinking Bishops, dinner at Hartsyard? Yep. The hungry hippos were at it again.
So, what is The Stinking Bishops? Well, ‘Stinking Bishop’ is an alcohol-washed rind cheese from Gloucestershire, England. That gives you a little clue as to what they’re all about. And let’s be honest, Sydney needs more cheese and wine bars.
You can buy cheese to take home or you can dine-in and order from a short menu comprising the likes of cheese boards (a fantastic way of sampling a variety of cheeses), mac n cheese, pâté, Ploughman’s and ‘Mr Crispy’ toasted sandwiches.
3 Cheese Board ($29.00).
Not wanting to overdo it we decided to limit ourselves to a selection of three cheeses. The staff at The Stinking Bishops are extremely well informed and certainly know their cheeses. With a quick discussion we chose Brillat-Savarin, Quickes Oak Smoked Cheddar and Epoisses – three very different cow’s milk cheeses.
Knowing the styles of cheeses I began with the mildest. Brillat-Savarin, from France, is a cheese I am rather familiar with. A triple-cream cheese, it’s creamy with a sweet, buttery taste. Absolutely brilliant.
Second cab off the rank was Quickes Oak Smoked Cheddar. Produced in Devon, England, the cheddar is smoked over oak chips and has a smooth, mellow smoky flavour and nice crumble.
Breaking up the cheeses were a few slices of flavourful walnut and fig log that was firm to the bite, juicy dried muscatels and a very delicate quince paste that complemented the cheeses extremely well.
Last but not least was the strongest of our three choices, another French cheese called Epoisses. Dylan and I have had the pleasure of consuming this cheese a number of times. Known for its pungency (it has been banned from public transport in France) it’s actually not as bad as it sounds. It has an orange rind washed in pomace brandy and a pale centre. This particular cheese had reached its prime just in time for our visit. Luscious and oozy, beautifully salty and sweet with a strong finish. Stunning.
These three beauties are just three reasons to head to The Stinking Bishops. Talk to the staff, try cheese you’ve never tried before. Leave a happy camper. We like it.
The Stinking Bishops
5/63-71 Enmore Road
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9007 7754
The Stinking Bishops Website