I love cheese. I just ate a toasted cheese sandwich like 30 seconds ago. And while Joburg is no Paris, there are a few really good spots to buy cheese in this town and I thought I should profile them as part of my Jozi Top Fives series.
I’ve written about most of these places before, but as with all my Jozi Top Fives posts I think it’s nice to sum them up neatly together in a group.
There are a lot of shops selling cheese around town, although not many with a specific focus on cheese. While the first few choices were easy I had a hard time rounding out the last couple of places on the list. In the end I went for geographic diversity, accessibility, and a range of different cheese nationalities.
1) Cheese Gourmet, Linden
I’ve blogged about the Cheese Gourmet more than once (see here and here) and it is undoubtedly the best place in Joburg to shop for a dinner party, book club meeting, or any other kind of event that could benefit from a selection of cheese.
There are many dozens of cheeses to choose from, all made in South Africa, as well as a selection of bread, meat, jams and sauces, and an incredible olive bar. Cheese Gourmet also has a delightful adjoining café serving cheesy dishes like grilled baby camembert and the ploughman’s platter.
Cheese Gourmet is at 71 7th Street, Linden.
2) Patisserie de Paris, Blairgowrie
Patisserie de Paris, which was part of my #Gauteng52 series, is an authentic French café with a full-on bakery and restaurant. The Patisserie also has an entire room devoted to imported French (and a few Spanish) cheeses.
I’ve been to the Patisserie many times and I never get tired of chatting with the staff and tasting the different cheeses. There is something about French cheese…I don’t necessarily want to say it’s better than all other cheese in the world, but it’s definitely special.
Patisserie de Paris is at 9 Mackay Ave., Blairgowrie.
3) Cremalat, Elandsfontein
I wrote about Cremalat, an Italian deli and café in the East Rand, recently. Cremalat started many years ago as a small Italian cheese stall at the Bryanston Organic Market and eventually expanded into a deli with a restaurant attached.
Cremalat sells tons of cheese, some of which is imported from Italy and much of which is made in the on-site factory, visible through a glass door next to the deli. I have a confession: I’ve eaten lunch at Cremalat twice, and while there was cheese on my pasta both times I did not actually buy any at the deli. But I know for a fact, due to many second-hand accounts, that Cremalat cheese is delicious.
Cremalat is in the Greenhills Industrial Estate, Sam Green Road, Elandsfontein.
4) Pilaros, Ferndale
Pilaros, in the Carriera Centre in Ferndale, specializes in Mediterranean soft cheeses like halloumi, ricotta, and feta. Pilaros also sells local milk, cream, cream cheese, and other dairy products.
I wanted to buy milk and halloumi — a South African staple cheese — from Pilaros but I showed up on a Monday morning and they were still waiting for their deliveries. I did have a nice chat with Mzukhanye, a long-time Pilaros staff member who was waiting for the milk to be delivered from the Pilaros factory in North Riding.
Incidentally, the Carreira Centre is a great place to shop for all food. There’s a bakery, a pet supply shop, a fruit and veg wholesaler, a spice shop, and a butchery, all selling their stock at incredibly low prices.
Pilaros is at 250 Pine Avenue, Ferndale.
5) Super Sconto, Orange Grove
I had a hard time choosing my fifth shop. I really wanted it to be a place that specializes in cheese but I also wanted it to be a real retail shop and not a factory/wholesaler or market stall.
Super Sconto, on Louis Botha Avenue in Orange Grove, is a huge Italian grocery store and cheese is only a small part of its offerings. But these Italian cheeses are legit and virtually everyone I encountered in Super Sconto was actually speaking Italian. So I think it deserves a spot.
Almost everything in Super Sconto is imported from Italy. The cheese arrives in humungous rounds about three times the size of my head and is then cut up and packaged for sale.
Super Sconto also has an eat-in café.
I took a mini tour with Super Sconto manager Roberto, who himself speaks with a heavy Italian accent, and he showed me all the different cheeses. I bought myself a chunk of creamy fontal, which is great on sandwiches but so strong my whole refrigerator smells of it. Totally worth it though.
Super Sconto is at 171 Louis Botha Avenue, Orange Grove.
Go forth and eat cheese.