By WENDY HARGREAVES
Love cheese? You’re living in the right city. Melbourne is home to some droolworthy cheese shops, thanks to a new breed of passionate affineurs curating the ripest, tastiest chunks of fromage from Australia and abroad.
And in more great news for cheese lovers, the Holey Cheese Festival returns to Queen Vic Market for a week of cheese, wine and music from October 22-27. Expect cool pop-ups, degustations, booze/cheese pairings, cooking demos, live music and more.
But if you can’t wait until then, here are five of the best places to get cheesy in Melbourne.
- Prahran Market’s Harvest Hall, 163-165 Commercial Rd, South Yarra
- Anthony Femia’s “chapel of cheese” has gained cult status at the Prahran Market since 2015, but the award-winning cheesemonger recently switched from his cute food cart to a brand spankin’ stall with a seven-metre cheese cabinet stacked full of farmhouse cheese from Australia and around the world. Fermia’s famous Swiss raclette (above) and the All-American grilled-cheese toastie (two American cheeses, onion and parsley) made the move from the original cart, with much more…. including the Ploughman’s Lunch with ham off the bone, hunks of English cheddar, home-made relishes and pickled vegetables.
- Craft + Co, 390 Smith St, Collingwood
- Third-generation Italian cheesemaking sisters Sabrina and Katia Capodoccio make Melbourne’s freshest mozzarella (among other delicious cheese varieties), all available for sale at Craft and Co in Collingwood. They also run regular cheesemaking masterclasses, with plenty of hands-on practice over three hours. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for upcoming classes.
- 157 Spring St, Melbourne, 9639 0335
- Hidden down in a cool cellar under the European’s Spring St food empire, this gloriously stinky lair is Australia’s first commercial underground cheese room and maturation cellar, with dozens of amazing cheese from home and abroad.
- 365 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
- Cheese guru Olivia Sutton is a master at the perfect cheese platter, presenting a perfectly ripe selection from Australia, Europe, the UK and the US at her shop/cafe (plus some seriously good toasties). Sutton also knows how to please new mums… a home/hospital-delivered box of three soft cheeses, crackers, fruit paste and a beautiful gift card ($65). Is there a more perfect way to end nine months of cheese abstinence? Perhaps the monthly cheese subscription, delivering three to four pieces of cheese at peak maturity and flavour.
- 157 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, and 323 Lygon St, Carlton
- This licensed fromagerie changed Melbourne’s cheese landscape forever when it started pairing booze and perfecty-ripe cheese. Cheesemonger Laura Lown curates dozens of cheeses from around the world, while expert bar staff match them with a perfect tipple late into the night. If you’re entertaining at home, they box up cheeses to go with a generous blob of quince paste. Milk the Cow also offers cheese hampers and monthly subscriptions to suit all wannabe affineurs.