First published on 2 Sep 2010. Updated on 7 Sep 2010.
TOP RIND: Al Rocamadour Fermier
Culina claims to have over 50 French cheeses displayed in its counter, but on our visit, it looked closer to the lower rungs of 30. Our pick was a soft unpasteurised, lightly matured goat’s cheese that resembled a 5cm version of brie. It’s not as runny and creamy as the big bloomy rind, nor as mature; this one has a fruity note that mildly indicates it has been made with the milk of the chèvre. An ideal table cheese for those who like goat’s cheese but are not predisposed to the milk’s characteristic scent.
Blk 8, #01-13 Dempsey Hill (6474 7338, www.culina.com.sg). Take a taxi. $4 per 30g.
Jason’s Market Place
TOP RIND: Mirabo Walnut
Don’t discount the supermarkets: in terms of commercial variety, Jason’s small but packed counter rivals most cheese sellers. Of the pre-cut, pre-weighed and plastic-wrapped lot, the German walnut-studded cow’s milk cheese stood out. This soft varietal is very mild, eaten more for its spreadable and softly crunchy textures than its scent (or lack thereof). This is definitely one to pair with quince paste.
#B1-01 Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge Rd (6336 2676). MRT: City Hall. $8.29 per 100g.
TOP RIND(LESS): Brillat Aux Truffles
You’ll find it hard to leave Singapore’s biggest publicly accessible controlled cheese room: from the semi-hard mild Spanish quesos in the top left-hand corner to the regal United Kingdom blues sitting by the door – how do you pick from over 100 cheeses? We sampled quite a few before deciding it was best to go for the obvious – a thick 100g slice of the unpasteurised triple-cream Brillat aux Truffle. A paper-thin layer of grated black summer truffles is sandwiched in between smooth, dense fresh cheese – enough to thoroughly permeate the cultured cow’s milk without being overpowering.
Blk 9, #01-12 Dempsey Hill (6476 1512, www.jonesthegrocer.com). Take a taxi. $17 per 100g.
TOP RIND: Époisses
Chef Julien Bompard (of Le Saint Julien fame) has dedicated these premises to cheeses sourced directly from the départements of France. On their recommendation we picked up the biggest stinker in the shop (and on our list) – the Époisses. This 10cm-wide soft cow’s milk cheese comes in a ceramic plate that can be placed in the oven for two minutes to render it runny. While some cringe at its stench, others really love it; locals will appreciate its chunky, puréed durian-like consistency and its king of fruits-like aroma when eaten. Don’t shy away – its smell’s stinkier than its bite, really.
#01-64, Blk 43 Jln Merah Saga, Chip Bee Gardens, Holland Village (6732 6269, www.julienbompard.com/lafromagerie). Take a taxi. $13.45 per 100g.
The Cellar Door
TOP RIND: Kikorangi
The gem among the 16 or so cheeses in this New Zealand- and United Kingdom-stocked room is the Kikorangi (‘sky blue’ in Maori) from Wellington. Our only vegetarian cheese on the list is a deep, heavy wheel of about 25cm in diameter with an edible grey and blue rind. Unlike the English blues, this vibrant semi-hard cow’s milk cheese makes for mild but creamy bites, suited for those not prone to the generally agressive character of its culture. If not for the veins, the friendly staff pointed out, ‘you wouldn’t even think it to be blue’. Indeed, the brie we tasted after created more of a stir in our nasal cavity.
#01-108/109 VivoCity, 1 Harbour Front Walk (6463 5296, www.thecellardoor.com.sg). Harbour Front. $4.80 per 100g.