French Cheese Tasting: Bottega Rotolo


I’ve written before Bottega Rotolo and I’m still an avid fan.  I was delighted to be an invited guest (DISCLOSURE) at their French Cheese Experience in the new King William store; immensely proud when they quoted my blog on their website.  Good Karma flows when you speak from the heart.

The new Bottega Rotolo premises, opened last Christmas, glistens with promise; part concrete bunker, mostly glass-encrusted haven of goodness; cured meats hanging enticingly within view.  I had been saving up my first visit for something good.

Inside the store is in two halves.  Along one length, temperature and humidity controlled cheese and charcuterie vault – long and grey stone-topped servery tonight doubling as our tasting table, about 12 of us on stools comfortably. The remainder of the store holds everything else.

Such a warm welcome from Rosalie Rotolo-Hassan, a formidable presence on our national food landscape who is now (in one of many recent developments) supplying cheese to Qantas for all of it’s premium fares.  That’s a LOT of cheese. Wines have been selected by Bottega Rottolo’s resident sommelier Alessandro Ragazzo.

The storytelling and banter enriches the flavours, and Alessandro’s musical Italian lilt warms our path; through all we given glimpses of past history and passion, terroir and orgin, local and locavore, while enjoying some absolutely delicious cheese and wine selections in beautiful surrounds.

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We were given generous portions, plated with condiments on a lovely slate platter, glasses waiting at each place.

Brillat Savarin (Normandy), an incredibly smooth white mould double cream cheese that just wraps around the tongue with mouth watering butteryness and a soft lingering tang. Matched with a gorgeously fun lightly sparkling Cartizze Prosecco, Desiderio Jeio.

Ossau Iraty Basque (Pyrenees), a firm aged ewes milk cheese with a sweet nutty taste that worked so well on the imported french baguettes (yes, you read that correctly) and we are told the traditional regional accompaniment of sour cherry jam. Partnered cosily with a mellow and warm Italian red 2005 L’Astore Salento, and for a lovely description of the source go here.

Roquefort AOC (Auvergne) such a weakness of mine and this one is so soft it rolls apart and beckons to be eaten.  It is by accounts ” hand made using milk from the lacaune sheep that graze on the Causses plateau”. Equal parts, creamy, salty sweet. heaven sent. This was perfectly paired with a Tanit Moscato Di Pantelleria, the muscat grapes for which are first dried in the sun on herethe Island of Pantelleria, imparting a deep honey flavour. Perfect ending.

So back to the baguettes – and this fascinated me – Rosalie has started importing the dough from France, par-baked, or frozen dough to be shaped and baked at the store before distribution to what is reportedly a growing local market.  They were of course authentic and delicious.

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An hour goes very quickly under such delectable circumstances and in such inspiring company.  Rosalie was generous through it all – including with cheese, energy and time – and we chatted at length about the very personal care that she takes to build reliable sources of the best produce from around the globe, as well some of the great local produce coming out of this state and across the country.

Thankfully I could leave with my arms full.

If you’re interested in this or any of the now expanded range of events being run at any of the Bottega Rotolo locations in SA or elsewhere, you can check them out on their website here.  Prices vary, from the $50 cheese tastings like this one, through to cooking classes and bespoke private dinners.

My sincere gratitude goes to Rosalie and her Bottega Rotolo team for inviting me to join them at this event.  I loved it.


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