Pepe's Makes Damn Fine Cheese in Jozi
Forget what you've tasted, Pepé's cheese WILL be better!
Tasteless brie from our collection of supermarket chain stores will never feature in my trolley again, now that I've discovered Pepé Charlot's homemade (and heavenly) cheese. The Frenchman has changed the way I eat everything, from salads to pizzas - it just ain't happening without French goat's milk cheese!
Pepé's passion for cheese making becomes clear as we step into the small workshop in Craighall Park; he treats his fromage with fatherly care, talks to the maturing bits and keeps them at their various comfortable temperatures.
This is no commercial factory; Pepé, his right-hand man Steven and the rest of the team put a lot of effort into a little bit of cheese. The milk curd is drained of whey for up to 20 hours before the curd is hand rolled into yummy cheese and put out for drying. It takes about 20 litres of milk to make between 2.5 and 3kgs of cheese. A layer of (edible and safe) mould is sprayed over the cheese before being put in fridges to mature at different temperatures; some will be hard and strong cheese, others will be soft and creamy - they're all delicious!
Pepé generously allows us to taste the cheese and that's when I struck cow's milk brie off my Pick n Pay shopping list. I've been converted to a goat's milk fromage fanatic! He describes a mouth-watering salad worth trying at home; grill a bit of cheese on a thin baguette slice for one minute and toss it on top of some plain lettuce, hot English mustard and vinegar. Damn fine!
Pepé also hosts cheese making courses; click here for the details and learn to make your own batch of Jozi's French finest.
Find Pepé's life changing cheese at Neighbourgoods Market, Bryanston Organic Market, Corner Café and Thrupps. Go to pepecharlot.co.za for the full list. Call ahead if you visit the workshop to buy directly from him and bring cash.
42 Lancaster Avenue
Photos by: Dirk Chalmers
by Chandré Peters