It is the ultimate cheese lovers’ destination and one of Melbourne’s first late-night licensed cheese shops (it’s open until 1am Friday and Saturday). The cheesemongers at Milk the Cow really know their stuff and with a trove of more than 180 kinds of cheese available, some from faraway lands, it’s a good thing they do. The Cheesemonger’s Choice platter is the way to go if you want to sample a few options from their range, or if you really feel like indulging, go for the Creme de la Crop Cheeseboard. It includes five of the shop’s rarest and best cheeses, paired with quince paste, muscatel clusters, freshly baked bread and housemade lavosh. The selection of Cheese and Booze Flights are also pretty hard to turn down, with cheese platters thoughtfully paired with wine, beer, whisky and even sake. With two locations — one in Carlton and the other in St Kilda — there’s no excuse not to visit.
If you prefer to DIY your cheeseboard and want to enjoy it picnic style at the Royal Botanic Gardens or another one of Melbourne's top picnic spots, head to the Queen Victoria Market. Visit the deli hall and you’ll be wowed by the selection of cheese, meats and accompaniments on offer. Sample some of the produce on offer before you commit and pick a few items you’ve never heard of before. You never know what might be your new favourite fromage. Bill’s Farm has been around for more than 20 years and is owned by a qualified cheese grader. Like your cheese with a certain je ne sais quoi? Be sure to stop in at The French Shop for some imported varieties and pates.
Having only opened in 2014, Harper & Blohm in Essendon has solidified its place on Melbourne’s cheese scene, offering both local and international varieties. Here, cheese is not only something to eat; it’s also something to be appreciated. Friendly staff members are on hand to help you select the right cheese, as well as offer advice on how to look after and serve it to get the most flavour and enjoyment. Partnering with The Prince Wine Store — a well-respected wine retailer right next door — it also offers a cheese and wine masterclass that guides participants through the classic pairings of these two delights.
Prefer your cheese Italian style? You don’t need a passport to try some of the cheese and smallgoods at Carlton’s DOC Delicatessen. You’ll find all the elements for a perfect Italian picnic including olive oils, cured meats and more. Here the crowd favourites are the parmigiano-reggiano (parmesan) and pecorino, which is a hard, salty cheese made from ewe’s milk.
Not only does Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder offer delicious brunches and lunches, it also has a dedicated cheese room stocked with a range of local and imported varieties, some of which are aged in-house. Here, the cheesemongers work closely with their suppliers — both small local dairies, as well as those overseas — to curate a range of high-quality cheeses for customers to choose from. Enjoy a charcuterie board with cheese from the collection while dining in the cafe, or have the team make up a picnic basket for you, containing cheese, sandwiches and sides. Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder also has its own cheese club, so you can continue your education, with cheese delivered right to your door even after you return from your Melbourne visit.
Downstairs from the main part of this boutique grocery store, you’ll find Spring Street Grocers’ cheese shop. Look for the yellow ‘cheese’ sign and go down into a cheese-lovers’ oasis. It’s Australia’s first underground cheese maturation cellar, or cheese cave as it’s affectionately known to some. Stocking a range of artisan cheeses, both home-grown and from around the world, piled high on the countertop, you will be spoiled for choice. The cheesemongers of the Spring Street Grocer also run cheese workshops, imparting their knowledge to newbies, as well as connoisseurs looking to enhance their understanding or share expert opinions.
Prahran Market is a foodie destination within itself, and a place where many of Melbourne’s best chefs do their weekly shop, speaking volumes about the quality of its produce. It is here that you will find The Cheese Shop Deli that stocks an impressive range of fromage including the safe but oh-so-delicious cheddar varieties, right through to goat’s cheese, sheep cheese, Gouda, blue vein and much more. You can also stock up on cheese accompaniments here, like quince paste, truffle products and first-class olive oil, which is perfect for a Melbourne picnic or to enjoy when you return home.