Through random Google searches and flicks through various issues of In Macarthur Magazine I first found the Epicure Store in Camden. I grasped a good idea of their services – sellers of cheese, tea, antipasto, oil and vinegar, sourdough bread, handmade cookies, muesli and granola, and raw honey etc etc (according to their website) which surely was good enough to drag me there. It wasn’t until, however, I happened to walk past it on my way back from the Camden Fresh Produce Markets one time that I found it and had to have a peek inside finally. I won’t spoil the details just yet, but can I just say upfront WOW! Not only is this place packed to the brim with bundles of delicious gourmet goodies, the actual goodies they sell are second to none. I have travelled to the Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains and the Sydney Good Food and Wine Show to hunt down particular goodies (Whisk & Pin muesli, The Gourmet Nut Company, and Bruny Island Cheese to name a few) when I could’ve actually driven 20 minutes down the road on any day of the week to get the same goods. On top of all that, they have a café – a quaint and divine experience where you can take the ‘epicure’ further and try out the produce they sell. I just had to drag my gorgeous partner back to make sure we got a proper chance to try out the café for brunch.
The shop itself is rather small and tightly packed with limited seating on the front veranda of the store. The lady who runs the store is just delightful and helpful and pretty much steers the whole ship herself very impressively!
The menu although “small and simple” is certainly fabulous. A beautiful selection of breakfast and lunch items – fancy cheese toasties (we’re talking with fillings of blue cheese, gruyere cheese, truffle salt, haloumi and quince jam), salad, soup, platters, gourmet toasts and granola. A really interesting feature of the menu is that they don’t serve coffee. What!??!! I know…. But can you believe that I didn’t even notice, and more importantly I didn’t mind at all, not with the absolutely delicious hot drinks on offer – chai tea, DIY Belgian hot chocolate, spiced raw hot chocolate….plus a terrific selection of T2 teas. They also have a little disclaimer at the bottom of their menu just to explain why: “We know espresso is an art, and our little cottage does not have the space for a canvas. We don’t serve coffee here, but we don’t mind if you BYO.”
The menu looked so appetizing and I kind of wanted a bit of everything. I was tossing up between the soup of the day (lentil and chickpea) or one of the fancy toasties. In the end I chose the blue cheese toastie with fig jam and rocket along with the chai tea – blend of black tea with traditional spices and raw honey. Big Bear had the Plougman’s Lunch consisting of cheddar, gruyere, cold meats, chutney, figs and sourdough bread plus the spiced raw hot chocolate – organic cacao drinking chocolate with vanilla and cinnamon.
Big Bear and I were so pleased with all the food and drinks – arrived promptly and with such a personal touch. I’m not a huge fan of blue cheese to be honest but I’ve been doing better in handling and adjusting to it over the years. The toastie was gorgeous! A mostly sweet flavour and the blue cheese was so subtle and didn’t overpower the sandwich. The chai was frothy, spicy but not too heavy on the spices. Big Bear’s platter was equally impressive. A generous selection of cheese (from Tasmania and New Zealand), meat, bread and local condiments. He informed me that they had run out of gruyere cheese but was offered brie instead. The brie went really nice with the chutney and Big Bear ate the prosciutto and ham faster than he realised he could’ve made a sandwich out of them!! (that being said, you can totally make a sandwich out of it all as well when you’re there). The vintage cheddar was strong and crumbly and paired nicely with the sweet, syrupy figs and the sweetness of the chutney. The hot chocolate (although not too hot) came with a side of marshmallows and cinnamon stick (so cute!) and had a beautiful spice flavour.
All in all a beautiful, local experience of quaint country café dining in Camden. Definitely need to come back and try some more items from the menu I had my eyes on. You can also take home a range of delightful goodies from their store out back – cookbooks, aprons, pancake mix, nuts, fresh bread, tea, cheese, tea cups, sweets, jams, spreads…..so much going on!
“Our fresh lunches are carefully prepared using a selection of our specialty cheeses, sourdough bread, local produce and gourmet ingredients from our shelves. Our menu is small and simple but delicious, and is updated regularly according to seasonal produce and cheeses.”
Local and imported goodies. No coffee? Don’t worry, we have spiced chai and raw hot choc.
Camden Cottage, 39 John Street, Camden NSW 2570
02 4655 4336
Monday – Wednesday: 9.00am – 5.00pm; Thursday – Friday: 9.00am – 6.00pm
Saturday: 9.00am – 4.00pm; Sunday: 10.00am – 2.00pm