A Fromage Lover’s Guide To Melbourne’s Best Cheese Experiences
From boutique cheese stores, cellar doors, cheese toasties and pairing boards, these are Melbourne's best cheese-based experiences.
It’s no secret that Melbourne loves cheese. From some of the best fromageries in the country to an abundance of restaurants serving up mouth-watering dishes dedicated to the good stuff (fondue is back, and no one is sad about it), there’s no shortage of cheese experiences for every palate.
For Milk the Cow owner Daniel Verheyen, Melbourne’s obsession with cheese comes as no surprise. He started the late-night eatery and cheese shop in St Kilda in 2012, after realising just how many interesting varieties there were that weren’t getting served up on Australian cheeseboards. Enter Milk the Cow Licensed Fromagerie – now with a second northside venue – where a six-metre cabinet displays more than 150 cheeses, expertly matched to wines, cocktails, beer, whisky, sake and more.
“Melbourne’s foodie reputation is world-renowned, and foodies love cheese,” Verheyen says.
“Cheese-making is an ancient artisan trade, full of stories, flavours, fine ingredients and talent, which ticks every foodie box possible.”
Now there’s no shortage of variety on the Australian market, from experimental wheels of hybrid cheddar-parmesans washed in coffee, to local producers focused on traditional methods and organic ingredients.
We’ve sorted through the offerings to bring you a list of the city’s best cheese experiences.
The best boutique cheese stores
One of Melbourne’s earliest cheese rooms was Richmond Hill Café & Larder, started by Stephanie Alexander and Will Studd (one of Melbourne’s foremost cheese pioneers) in the ‘90s.
It still boasts one of the city’s best selection of cheeses, from small independent Australian dairies (Holy Goat) to old-world French fromages whose names you can’t pronounce (master Bleu de Laqueuille and you’re practically an expert).
48-50 Bridge Rd, Richmond
In the north of the city, you’ll find Harper & Blohm next to Prince Wine Store in the back streets of Essendon. This petite store has a well curated selection of seasonal cheeses, from Aussie washed rind from L’Artisan to a Stilton from Colton Basset and some of the best French cheese money can buy; think Comté, Epoisses, or a delicious Pont l’Eveque. Come on a Saturday from 2-4pm when owner Olivia offers cheese tasting paired with wines from next door.
80 Primrose St, Essendon
Australia’s first underground cheese maturation cellars are hidden away under Spring Street in Melbourne’s CBD. The customised cheese caves at Spring Street Cheese Cellar are home to farmhouse and artisan cheeses from around the world, that are aged on site. Book out the basement space for cheese-themed cocktail and dinner parties, or sign up for a workshop with one of their expert cheesemongers.
157 Spring Street, Melbourne
The best house-made cheese
Cheese lovers from all over the city flock to Carlton’s La Latteria, a self-proclaimed ‘Mozzarella Laboratory’, where the speciality is homemade fiore di burrata, a small ball of fresh mozzarella with seasoned cream in the centre. Other specialities such as buffalo mozzarella, diavoletti and ricotta are all made daily from locally sourced cows milk.
104 Elgin St, Carlton
The best cheese toastie
At Maker & Monger you’ll find one of the world’s best cheesemongers putting his touch on the humble toasted sandwich. Anthony Femia started his ‘Chariot of Cheese’ – a French food cart that operates out of Prahran Market – after travelling through Europe on a Churchill Fellowship to study Affinage (cheese maturation).
It’s hard to go past a simple grilled cheese sandwich here, but that would mean missing out on the traditional Swiss raclette that comes with heritage potatoes and shiitake mushrooms, or Australia’s first (and potentially only) ‘Flaming Rueben’.
Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra
The best late-night cheese fix
Melbourne’s first late-night licensed cheese shop Milk the Cow is open until late every day of the year (except Christmas Day). Satisfy midnight cheese cravings from a list of more than 150 artisan cheeses that come served with housemade lavosh, quince paste and freshly baked bread. Kick on with a ‘Cheese & Booze Flight’, featuring three or four boutique booze and cheese pairings; or get together a group of friends and share a fondue or hot pot that come served with crusty bread.
157 Fitzroy St, St Kilda and 323 Lygon St, Carlton
The best dine-in cheese boards
Nicholson Street’s Two Tall Chefs operates as a cheese shop, but it’s worth sticking around for the menu overseen by former Michelin star restaurant chef Monte Hudson. Breakfast, lunch and cheeseboards are available six days a week until 5pm, with a small seasonal menu also on offer Friday and Saturday nights.
665 Nicholson St, Carlton North
For mozzarella fanatics (they’re out there), you can’t go past DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar, which now boasts three locations: Carlton, Albert Park and Mornington. Choose between Australian fior di latte, scamorza (smoked mozzarella) or D.O.P. Italian buffalo mozzarella served with a side of your choice, or go all out and order the Degustation of 3 Mozzarella, a tasting plate of mozzarella designed to be shared amongst friends.
The best out-of-town cheese experiences
Victoria’s climate is ripe for dairy production, and some of the best cheese makers in the country can be found just a day-trip from Melbourne. Near the Great Ocean Road, Apostle Whey Cheese is a popular tourist spot and an award-winning cheesemaker specialising in soft, hard and blue cows milk cheese. See every stage of production in action, from milking the cows through to the cheese being handmade by owners Julian and Dianne Benson.
9 Gallum Rd, Cooriemungle
Nearby Timboon Cheesery offers tastings from the farmhouse cottage surrounded by lush pastures. Sample award winning cheeses from Schulz Organic and Timboon Dairy or stay for lunch in the cottage gardens.
23 Ford and Fells Rd, Timboon
On the Mornington Peninsular, there’s no shortage of tastings. The Goats Cheese from Main Ridge Dairy is the only large commercial dairy on the Peninsula, and offers tours and cheese making courses, as well as tastings and cheese platters.
295 Main Creek Rd, Main Ridge
Further afield, Milawa Cheese Company in Victoria’s High Country is well worth the drive for spectacular scenery and delicious farmhouse cheeses made using traditional methods. Set within a centuries old former butter factory is a restaurant, tasting room and cellar door run by Woods Park Wines.
17 Factory Rd, Milawa
(Lead image (vertical): Cheese from Richard Hill Cafe and Larder. Photo: Facebook. Lead image (horizontal): Cheese from Milk the Cow. Photo: Facebook)
Published 29 August, 2017