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Stop in at the little Mercer Cheese Shop

Mercer is one of those places you could blink and miss on State Highway 1 as you hurtle en route from Auckland to Hamilton or beyond. In fact I’ve only ever stopped at Mercer to use the loo or get petrol.

But Mercer is famous for its cheese. I vaguely knew that, but did nothing with it until recently when I went bolting down the line and made a deliberate stop.

This cute little Mercer Cheese shop stands alone on Roose Rd in Mercer. It’s easy to find – just take the first left when you come of the motorway before the glitz of McDonalds and the petrol station overwhelm you.

The funny little shop is stocked with huge round cheese wheels made by local Dutch farmer Albert Alferink. He used to milk his own cows then make his cheese, but these days he buys the milk from local farmers and sticks to the knitting of cheese making.

I tried a sliver of cumin cheese, pepper cheese and pecorino. They have a Parmesan which is spelt Armesan – as the lady eloquently explained, Albert took the ‘p’ because this parmesan, while it tastes like the real thing, is not as hard.

I ended up with three varieties for about $14 – after the gentleman ahead of me purchased over $80 worth. Right, glass of port anyone?

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!