From Carlton to South Yarra, Acland Street to Spring Street, Melbourne’s artisan and aromatic fromageries will cater to your cravings as they serve up crumbling feta, dreamy mozzarella, gouda and gorgonzola, mouth-watering brie and blue vein. Many of these locations are also licensed venues allowing you to accompany your favorite local and international varieties with a drop of red wine. Here are 10 of the best cheese shops in the area.
Milk the Cow
Forget beer gardens and noisy club scenes; if you’re looking for a sophisticated place that intermingles your favorite drop with the finest fromage, then head to Milk the Cow. This licensed fromagerie opened in St Kilda in 2012 and in Carlton two years later and boasts a selection of over 150 artisan cheeses from across the globe. Cheesemonger and regional manager Laura Lown has curated a selection of seasonal cheeses that are available to enjoy on-site, by the gram or in a takeaway Cheesebox. Try a Cheesemonger’s Choice Cheeseboard accompanied by freshly baked bread or the Cheese & Booze Flights. On wintery days, there’s nothing better than the individual fondue pots, and in the summer, try the refreshingly unique artisan cheese gelato.
Located on Elgin Street, the cheesemongers at La Latteria are renowned for their soft, creamy southern-Italian cheeses, which are hand-stretched daily. From Fiore Di Burrata (a ball of the softest mozzarella with a surprising creamy center) to Fiore Di Latte, Scamorza, bocconcini (mozzarella droplets) and riccota, this mozzarella laboratory produces the finest and freshest products. They even stock pots of 100 percent buffalo milk yogurt and old-fashioned and un-homogenized milk in glass bottles.
Following in their grandfather’s footsteps, Italian sisters Sabrina and Katia Cappodocio have brought traditional cheese-making techniques to Acland Street, St Kilda. Hailing from Fossanova, the Cappodocio family have been making cheese since the 1960s, and now with their own Melbourne micro-lab, the sisters will be producing over 100 chemical-free artisan cheeses. La Formaggeria is located less than 400 meters from Il Fornaio and offers juice, tea, coffee as well as made-to-order panini, and with the motto ‘poco ma sano (small but healthy)’, you can be sure that every product at La Formaggeria is wholesome, organic and locally sourced.
The Cheese Room at Richmond Hill Café and Larder is a decadent treat for Melbourne’s cheese lovers. As you enter the temperature-controlled room, you’ll notice the maturing cheese wheels that are carefully attended to by expert cheesemongers who are passionate about fromage education. Their wide selection of ‘benchmark’ cheeses include goat’s and ewe’s cheese, washed rind, hard cheese, blue cheese and white mould varieties, including Brie and Camembert. The Cheese Room also hosts cheese and wine workshops, and if you sign up to The Cheese Club, you will get cheesy home deliveries.
In 2010, Travis and Laura Sanders launched Farmgate as an alternative to the traditional gift hamper; the brand has since expanded internationally, becoming an online artisan cheese shop. Sourcing local ingredients, their hampers include gourmet cheese, wines, jam, jellies, crackers, dried fruits and nuts that have been chosen with precision to complement and balance each other. Also available are cheese towers perfect for celebrating a special occasion. Farmgate products are sold at independent retailers across Australia, including at Leo’s Fine Food & Wine and Toscanos, as well as in selected Woolworths stores and on board various Qantas flights. Recently, Farmgate have also expanded to South East Asia and the Middle East and California.
When you think of cheese cellars, images of dim basements come to mind, but descend the orange staircase at the Spring Street Grocer and you will find walls lined with subway tiles where farmhouse and artisan varieties from Australia and beyond sit patiently awaiting in Australia’s first underground cheese maturation cellar. Cheese workshops are held in the cellar, and the room can be booked for private functions. Asides from the Cheese Cellar, the Spring Street Grocer operates as a sandwich bar, gelateria and sells European delicacies.
In Essendon, one cheese shop reigns supreme. Harper & Blohm has been residing inside Prince Wine Store since 2014 and carries a small, ever-changing range of American, European and Australian cheese. Owner Olivia Sutton credits childhood vacations to King Island, Tasmania as the reason behind her fromage love affair and named her company after the maiden names of her grandparents. Sutton spent ten years working for the Calendar Cheese Club, and her aim with Harper & Blohm is to expose taste buds to flavors not often available to the public.
Tucked away in the Prahran Market, you’ll find The Cheese Shop Deli. The quaint store, owned by Angelo and Di, offers an overwhelmingly wide range of Australian and French cheeses, including hard and soft varieties, goat’s and sheep cheese, blue vein, cheddar, Gouda, artisan and gorgonzola, among others, and after having traded in the market for over ten years, Angelo knows a thing or two about tending to cheese.
Among scores of Italian stores and restaurants sits a one-of-kind French charcuterie. Owned by Stephane and Muriel Langlois, the shop sells pâtés, terrines, rillettes, sausages, cured meats as well as French oils and wines. La Parisienne Pâtés is also a fromagerie and holds a wide range of imported cheese, many of which are rare finds in Australia and just as hard to pronounce. Once you’ve checked out their cheese range, it’s time to have lunch and try a savory tart or sink your teeth into a tempting French dessert.
Located in Nicholson Street, Two Tall Chefs is a full-licensed restaurant and cheese shop offering breakfast and lunch six days a week, along with a hand-picked range of local and artisan cheeses. Sit down and try Brie, gouda and blue vein with accompanying poached figlettes, pastes and sourdough. Pair you selection with wine, beer or cider and allow the notes to complement each other on your palate. Care for something more formal? On Friday and Saturday nights, Two Tall Chefs offer a two- or three-course dinner.