“I want it to be a welcoming, knowledgeable place for people who want to learn about different cheeses and the stories behind them,” says Luke Williams of the cheese hub that he opened with his wife, Jessica Merton, in April 2015. The bright yellow shoppe on 215 Bree Street has since become a landmark on our favourite restaurant strip, branching out in to new offerings, as it aims to turn Cape Town into South Africa’s cheese capital. The fromage emporium houses a front-of-shop artisanal cheese bar that stocks over 200 fresh, local and international (80% : 20%) cheeses, including a selection of cheeseboard essentials. The warm and friendly eatery serves up delicious cheese-themed dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering Deluxe coffee, carefully selected wines, and craft ciders and beers to wash it all down with.
THE BIG CHEESE
Luke trained in the microbiology of cheese-making at the Nottingham School of Artisan Food, and spent four years as a cheesemonger and affineur (that’s the person who looks after the ageing of cheese after it has been made) at the well-known cheese emporium La Fromagerie in London. He also spent a year travelling around South Africa and working alongside over 40 artisanal cheesemakers whose work he showcases at Culture Club Cheese. “It’s a platform for me to champion their products and sing their praises,” he says.
THE FERMENTED OFFERING
There is no snobbery about this cheese shop, says Luke, and learning is part of the package, so look, ask and taste, before watching your choice of mouthwatering cheese being cut and packaged for you. To go with it, there are handmade biscuits, and a selection of organic, cured deli meats supplied by local producers such as Cape Mountain Charcuterie, chef Neil Jewell of Bread & Wine restaurant at Môreson wine estate, and Richard Bosman’s Quality Cured Meats (Bosman is a neighbour on Bree Street with his Bacon Bar). Fermentation is a wider theme of Culture Club Cheese, so do try Luke’s home-fermented pickles, kefir smoothies (a fermented milk drink) and probiotic-rich, lacto-fermented pickled cabbage (better known as sauerkraut) that pairs very well with the pickled waterblommetjies.
Take a break from crafting the ultimate cheese board and grab a seat at the tree-lined sidewalk. The breakfast menu (served until 11.30am) includes an unconventional cheese platter as well as cult favourites such as flapjacks, French toast and Eggs Benedict. For lunch, the delectable equivalent of the ubiquitous cheese toastie is the order of the day. Pasta lovers will want to try the camembert mac ‘n cheese, while the health conscious can opt for the lebneh and goat’s-cheese salad.
Come sundown, the dinner menu presents a feast of gooey, cheesy goodness. For starters we recommend the springbok carpaccio. The croquettes are also a firm favourite! If you’re a light eater, the cheese board is an absolute must. Each day a new selection of cheeses and accompanying (homemade) preserves are chosen by Luke himself. For dessert, our recommendation is rather predictable and totally worth the calories: cheesecake. To quote the orange-tinged leader of the free world: “It’s great, you’ll love it.”
AND ANOTHER THING…
Culture Club Cheese hosts a different pairing every month, such as cheese-and-wine and cheese-and-olive-oil tastings. Email email@example.com for info on upcoming events.
Opening times Monday – Wednesday, 9am – 5pm
Thursday – Saturday, 9am – 10pm
Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Contact 021 422 3515, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Culture Club Cheese, 215 Bree Street, Cape Town