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The Woman Behind the Cheese

Born and bred in Normandie, France, Valérie Henbest made the ultimate life change by moving to Australia over 20 years ago. Through immersing herself in the Australian food culture Valerie wanted to bring together the best of both the ‘old world’ style of cheese making and consumption and the burgeoning Australian industry. Cheese education and exploration was her prime motivation and therefore with very little hesitation, Valérie decided to take her destiny into her own hands and worked towards making sure she would share with us one of the things that she missed the most:  le Fromage!

Valérie started selecting a range of her favourite cheeses and embarked on a new importing business involving air and sea-freight landing regularly in Australia. With a focus on building strong lifelong relationships with boutique French producers, Valérie enjoyed frequent visits to France as well as facilitating reciprocal visits to Australia enabling French producers to showcase their cheeses. This naturally evolved to include cheeses from all over Europe and the United States, creating many more fulfilling and enriching relationships along the way. Hand selecting cheeses from all over the world compliments and contrasts the array of Australian cheeses the Smelly Cheese Co. boasts for sale.

Proudly becoming the sole owner of The Smelly Cheese Shop in 2019 provided extra opportunities to develop long held dreams and passions such as the rebrand to the Smelly Cheese Co. in June 2021, and creating a Taste of Place. Valerie manages a packed schedule full of Cheese After Dark tasting nights, online masterclasses as well as private tastings and events. You are also likely to bump into her in the Central Market visiting her shop and her neighbours, easily identified by the baguette forever in her hands.