Anolon Academy

Notes on cheese and dairy

By Chef Philippa Sibley

I can’t imagine life, cooking or eating, without dairy. 

Australia is producing some wonderful artisan chesses these days but I can’t resist Parmigano Reggiano from Italy, French Roquefort and Cypriot haloumi. 

As an Australian I was amazed when I travelled to France and saw the huge variety of cheeses on offer both for sale in ‘fromageries’ and markets and on restaurant menus. Fresh and aged, made from cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk and combinations of all three, beautifully and enticingly displayed everywhere. 

Many French cheeses are far too delicate to travel and our quarantine laws forbid certain unpasteurised products into Australia, so seeing the diversity and enormity of choice was a revelation to me. 

The first time I dined in a restaurant in Paris and was presented with the cheese selection I was flabbergasted. ‘Help yourself, Mademoiselle,’ I was told by the waiter in English. What followed, in French, I can only assume was very disapproving to say the least – lesson learned; never cut the tip off a wedge of brie…sacrilege!