Highlanders love a good cheese.
And now you needn’t go further than Bowral to find your favourite variety.
From blue to goats to triple cream brie, a new Highlands cheese experience has it all.
Hugh Nicholas has brought cheese back to Bowral, with the opening of new store, Cheese etc.
“I had people tell me they were almost brought to tears when they heard there was a cheese shop in Bowral again,” Hugh said.
But it’s more than just a store, it’s an experience.
“I genuinely care about what I’m putting in the fridge here and what I’m selling to people, so I want to be able to let people taste different cheeses and talk with them about the products.”
Cheese etc has been open at The Mill for about a month now, but Hugh has been a part of the cheese industry for much longer.
He previously owned a cheese store located in a wine bar in North Sydney, and this is where his knowledge about cheese began.
“Fortunately I worked with people who were willing to let me try different cheeses and teach me a lot of new things,” Hugh said.
He also spent some time in France with his now wife, where he got to taste and learn about some of the best cheeses in the world.
As a commitee member of the Australian Specialist Cheesemakers' Association, Hugh said he has a strong connection to Australian-made cheese.
“I have about four or five cheese from the local Pecora Dairy and I have a heavy focus on Australian cheeses, but I do consider quality over nationalism when selecting my cheeses,” he said.
Hugh said he hoped Cheese etc would take people out of their comfort zones.
“A lot of people usually say they enjoy a soft cheese so I like them to try a gentle brie or triple cream and they nearly fall over when they do,”he said.
“Then I like to work them forward to a hard cheddar and a blue or a goats cheese.
“What's great about the Southern Highlands is that people are willing to try things they usually wouldn’t.”
While cheese is the anchor at the pocket-style shop, there are plenty of other goodies on offer like cornichons, biscuits and the ever-important quince paste.
“Pretty much all the extras are made here in Australia in places like the Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains and Moss Vale,” Hugh said.
While the response to Bowral’s only cheese shop has been “amazing,” there are plans to expand Cheese etc to include even more decadent goods.
“I hope to stock charcuterie and cured meats and it would be great to do some wine and cheese matching nights and beer and cheese matching nights,” he said.