This is a little bit cheesy, but honestly Melbourne, we’ve got it all – the cheese that is. Our city has a few minor flaws (public transport, magpies and housing affordability leap to mind), but if we can count on anything, it’s (multiple) mouthfuls of delicious dairy goodness to get us through another day.
Thanks to our wonderful cheesemongers here in Melbs, we’ve got access to some pretty yummy and crazy cheeses. We reached out to some of our favourites to see what's fresh in store. So here you go guys: the best places in Melbourne to shop for cheese. You're bloody welcome.
Every Chaddy shopper has been into Simon Johnson, if only to smell their amazing cheese room (and keep a eye out for a cheeky free tasting). Our pick of the bunch? The Le Roi Roquefort. It’s rude to stare, but we can’t really blame you.
Those deep pockets of blue aren’t ordinary mould pockets, they're one of the most unique kinds in the blue cheese family, having been cultivated on wood-fired bread in the ancient cheese-ripening caves of Roquefort. Made from the finest quality raw sheep’s milk, its paste is creamy, leaving a slightly tangy, sweet-salty aftertaste.
Miss Gourmet & Co
The Miss Gourmet & Co story began in Western Australia back in the 1960’s where it fast became a household name for superior products in taste and quality. A generation later, the business is now owned by daughters Kirsten and Bronwyn who expanded the business into Melbourne – and boy we’re glad they did. A dedication to quality cheese is definitely something that runs through the family veins, with Miss Gourmet & Co not disappointing with their specialisation in all things gourmet cheese.
Our recommendations for Miss Gourmet & Co are a couple goats cheese beauties. If rich and creamy cheeses are your go-to, you’ll wonder why you’ve never had the Le Delice De Bourgogne before. It’s a triple cream, cows milk cheese made next level delicious with the help of butterfat, giving it an insanely silky texture. It’s best enjoyed like day-old bread, so if you can withstand your temptation, you’ll be glad you did. Secondly, we chose the Holy Goat La Lune, a goats cheese made on the Sutton Grange Organic Farm. Its process is based on the traditional French soft curd style, creating slow lactic acid fermentation.
On second thought, never mind the process, just know that its wrinkly exterior and full-bodied creaminess with a citrusy aftertaste is a tough one to top.
That's Amore's retail outlet in Thomastown is a little wedge of cheese heaven. An emporium where you can browse the shelves or sit down for a piping hot Ricotta Calda (cooked fresh every morning until 10am). This place sent us, hands down, some of the coolest cheeses we've ever seen. The 'Secrets Of The Forest' is matured in wild hay for six months and mixed with winter truffles; it arrived, hay-covered and awesome, in its own timber box.
You should also try the Diavoletti (translation: little devils)—mild-smoked balls of provolina cheese, hung in bushels and stuffed with an olive (which itself is stuffed with chilli). We recommend kicking back with a glass of wine and eating this lil’ guy like an apple. They’re also great on the barbecue or in a frying pan. Molto bene!
Harper & Blohm
Having worked with cheesemongers in Dublin, it’s no wonder owner and cheese expert, Olivia Sutton has a penchant for knowing the best cheese from around the world. We’d obviously suggest you have one wedge of each cheese at Harper & Blohm, but we’ll flex our self-control and recommend three.
First up, the Prom Country Venus Blue is a must-try. We’re used to blue cheese that’s creamy and soft too, so that’s why we insist you dare to be different. It’s firm and made from ewes milk from Prom Country in Gippsland. Second, we like things in creamy form too, so we’re recommending the Stone & Crow Night Walker. It’s a recent creation made by Jack Holman, the head cheesemaker at the Yarra Valley Dairy—a full-bodied handmade washed rind cheese sold by only a select handful of Melbourne retailers. Third of all, we think it’s time you tossed in the ol’ parmesan aside for some pecorino.
The Shaw River Annie Baxter Reserve was created by the Haldane family who were the first to milk buffalo in Australia in the 1990’s so yep, this handcrafted, pecorino style cooked curd is one solid cheese you gotta try.
We can thank Tony Nicolini of the DOC Group for this one. DOC Deli is tucked next door to Carlton Espresso, and it's one of the North's best cheese shops: a slick fit-out built from Pietra Grigia marble, recycled timber and polished concrete. DOC sent us a Black Truffled Pecorino: a decadent sheep milk cheese from Tuscany, mixed with shavings of black truffle from Alba.
The earthy and nutty taste of the pecorino combined with the pungent, yet subtle flavour of the truffle shavings is the flavour balance you didn’t know your palate needed.
The Cheese Shop Deli
It’s easy to lose your head once you step inside a Melburnian foodie haven… something we feel is starting to happen on the regular—and the Prahran Market is a major counterpart with its endless range of fine fresh produce and gourmet deli items. The best part? The Cheese Shop Deli which specialises in one of our city’s largest ranges of Australian and French cheeses. One of our picks is the Midnight Moon, a sweet cheese with nutty caramel notes from Cypress Grove Creamery in California.
It’s delicious accompanied with ripe figs and if you’re feelin’ fancy, some cured meats too. We also have to recommend the Queso de Cabra, a pasteurised Spanish goats cheese that’s a bit spicy, a bit salty and has the perfect buttery texture that’s somewhere in between firm and creamy. In comparison to regular goats cheese, it’s a little less tangy and whole lot more rustic.
Milk The Cow
What did we do before Milk The Cow? Seriously. This place stormed onto the scene a couple of years ago, thanks to hospo-pro Daniel Verheyen (formerly of The Apartment, the CBD bar that keeps on keeping on). St Kilda was first, then Carlton popped up (naturally). If you're a cheese fan and you haven't checked it out, book an appointment asap.
They're currently stocking possibly the most Melbourne cheese of all time: the Bella Vitano Espresso: basically, cheese coated in ground coffee beans. It's a cow's milk, cheddar and parmesan cheese hybrid from Wisconsin, USA. Fun-fact, Milk The Cow actually garnishes their Espresso Flip Martinis with it. The more you know. You should also take home a serve of the Langres, a washed-rind cow's milk cheese with a soft, creamy centre. Best enjoyed doused in champagne before eating.
Richmond Hill Café and Larder
One of Melbourne’s most established cafes, on one of Melbourne’s busiest shopping strips, Bridge Road is where you’ll find Richmond Hill Café and Larder. They’ve got a rotating selection of cheeses from their fromagerie, which you can also have matched by their in-house sommelier. The most exciting part (which yes, usually is wine) is that they have cheeses stocked exclusively at their store. Which ones have our tick of approval? We’re recommending a triple threat of international cheeses.
The first is the Ossau-Iraty, a sheep milk, semi-hard, a French classic from the Pryneese region. It’s more on the intense side flavour wise, with a sweet caramel taste with a long-lingering nutty finish. There’s also the Brillat Savarin á la Truffe and may we just see, it’s very ‘brillat’. It’s a cow's milk, triple cream, white mould cheese made extra special with truffles sandwiched inside, yes – all the decadence. Finally, the Westcombe Cheddar is a hard, cow's milk cheese from Somerset, England. This cheddar cheese is robust, with mellow lasting notes of citrus and hazelnut. It only very recently landed on Australian shores and we must say, we’re glad it has.
Caseus on Sydney Rd is all about the Australian and French farmhouse cheeses, which means you can always pick up something pretty interesting (ie. that will impress the pants of your cheese-snobby mates). Start with these two. First, the Bulga. If you like your cheese hard, flaky (and with the ability to transport you to a field of flowers in the summertime) you need some Bulga in your life. It’s a strong, salty and nutty gruyere-style cheese that’s rich and oh so yellow.
It’s also got a neat little crunch to it which comes from the white amino acid that develops through the maturation process. Second, grab a wedge of the Caprino Cremosa with Truffle. It's from Piedmont in Italy—a blend of both goat’s milk and cow’s milk. Instead of being mixed inside, the cheese is topped with truffles, just like sundaes topped with maraschino cherries… they’re always necessary.
Partial to a bit of the cheesy stuff? You need the 50 best cheese dishes in Melbourne, pronto.
Image credit: Ben Tyers
Design credit: Sahra Martin