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FOOD & DRINK

The Best Places to Buy Next-Level Cheese in Melbourne

These spots see your cheese dreams and raise you with toasties, coffee and wine for a very gouda grocery trip.
By Lauren Vadnjal and Concrete Playground
October 06, 2021
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By Lauren Vadnjal and Concrete Playground
October 06, 2021
  shares

THE BEST PLACES TO BUY NEXT-LEVEL CHEESE IN MELBOURNE

These spots see your cheese dreams and raise you with toasties, coffee and wine for a very gouda grocery trip.

These days, there are plenty of venues plating up cheesy dishes and elaborate cheese boards — but there's nothing quite like selecting a few quality wedges of fromage, freshly sliced charcuterie and a matching bottle of wine to dig into with friends. Home to some of the largest cheese selections in the country, Melbourne's cheese shops and fromageries are defined by passionate owners, an appreciation for top Australian-made products and some exceptional cheese offerings.

From long-running operations at the Queen Vic Market to small neighbourhood retailers with cabinets full of dairy-based wares, we've put together a list of the best shops to sate your appetite for cheese. Whether you're sourcing a serve of your go-to favourite or hunting for something fancy and new, these spots have as gouda selection of cheesy delights as you'll find anywhere in Melbourne.

Melbourne is currently under stay-at-home restrictions. For more details on Victoria's restrictions, see the Department of Health & Human Services website.

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    With a cafe, food store and classroom — all with a firm focus on formaggio — That’s Amore is a haven for cheese-lovers. Founded by a Sicilian cheesemaker, this award-winning producer and celebrated supplier sure knows its stuff. Retail space The Cheesery is a one-stop shop for dairy fiends, boasting a broad deli selection that heroes That’s Amore’s own famed mozzarella and ricotta varieties, alongside Italian and local grocery staples. Throw in an expert selection of cured meats, antipasti items and fresh bread, and you’ve got all you need for a truly enviable cheese board.

    The adjacent cafe serves a decadently cheese-heavy menu of brunch and lunch plates, while the online store is stocked with a huge array of signature cheese varieties, special releases and curated hampers.

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    With outposts in Carlton and St Kilda, this late-night licensed fromagerie has a whole lot of cheese. And by that, we mean expansive fridge cabinets brimming with a selection of over 180 cheeses you’ll seldom get anywhere else. There is cheese that’s been imported from France, Ireland and Norway as well as the Yarra Valley and the Great Ocean Road; cheese that’s been washed in chai, paprika and cognac; or aged in caves and sat ripening out the back until just the right time to eat. There’s all sorts of soft, hard and in-between cheese, all curated on a rotating basis by the expert cheesemongers on staff. Whether you want to buy something to take home or fancy ordering a glass of wine and devouring it then and there, Milk the Cow is a must for your cheese radar. There’s also an extensive selection to be found on the online store, with same-day delivery available.

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  • 7

    Spring Street Grocer is well known for the gelateria and retail space that occupies the front of the store, but it’s really a one-stop shop for all Italian-inspired indulgences — including cheese, of course. Nestled beneath the shop is a cheese cellar — Australia’s first underground cheese maturation cellar, mind you — filled with premium selections sourced from across Australia and abroad. The cheesemonger-curated range changes seasonally, with options by the portion as well as by the wheel, and picnic-ready mixed packs also on offer. During regular times, the underground cheese space can also be booked for private dinners and parties.

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  • 6

    This is the stuff of your cheesiest dreams. As the brainchild of renowned cheesemonger Anthony Femia, Prahran Market’s go-to dairy destination boasts an expanded specialty offering and a seven-metre-long cheese cabinet.

    Here, a custom-built maturation room acts like a natural cave, used to house and age a curation of boutique cheeses from both near and far. You’ll spy dreamy dairy creations from across France, Switzerland and England, and exclusive batches from some of Victoria’s own micro-dairies — all available to take home cut-to-order, as well as starring throughout the takeaway food menu. The venue’s known to whip up some of the best grilled cheese toasties in town, while its online shop has a hefty selection of standalone cheese products and mixed cheese packs available for delivery and click-and-collect.

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  • 5

    Ever the champion of top local produce, Bill’s Farm is one of Queen Victoria Market‘s go-to cheese traders. Let your cheese hunt lead you here and you’ll find a sprawling selection of renowned varieties, sourced from around the world. Alongside a tempting array of deli meats, dips and antipasto offerings sit award-winners like Berry’s Creek Tarwin Blue and Holy Goat’s La Luna cheese. Find local gems from That’s Amore and Milawa Cheese, or dive into international waters with a decadent hunk of Brillat-Savarin triple cream brie. It’s an expert lineup, curated by leading Melbourne cheesemonger Bill Tzimas.

    Drop by to taste, browse and buy your favourites, or shop the online store for speedy home delivery. There are some stellar grazing packs and cheese platters on offer, along with customisable cheese towers for special occasions.

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  • 4

    Harper and Blohm’s expansion to its current Sydney Road digs is a testament to the demand and popularity of its cheesy goods. The gourmet cheese shop sells a dreamy rotation of grilled cheese toasties, alongside fine cheeses cut to order, and a range of specialty dairy items and cheese board accompaniments.

    The mastermind behind the operation is Olivia Sutton, who, after working as a cheesemonger here and overseas, opened the venue as an homage to her grandparents. If you’re eager to experiment with what she brings in, the signature cheese subscription (from $95) will send you out three to four fresh cheese picks each month. And for something really special, you can’t go past one of the bespoke cheese towers.

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  • 3

    This intimate wine and cheese bar is serving up a quality crop of both vinous and dairy-based delights, sourced from across Australia and the world. From Woodside’s goat milk chèvre crafted in the Adelaide Hills, to decadently creamy French washed-rind iterations, you’ll find a glorious range of cheese available to purchase here, both in-store and from the online shop. Plus, when the doors are open, you can conduct some very important cheese board research by settling in with one of the curated cheese flights. Rounding out the takeaway offering is a top-notch pick of wine and beer — the perfect match to a cheese session in the park.

    Image: Kali Ko

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  • 2

    Leave it to a stroll through Simon Johnson in Toorak to transform a midweek meal into a gourmet feast. Simon Johnson started his providore chain in Sydney in 1992, with the namesake brand now boasting five retail stores across Australia.

    The Toorak location is a modern space boasting floor-to-ceiling shelves brimming with bottles, jars and kitchenware. Selling products from its sister labels — including Calendar Cheese Company — Simon Johnson has access to some of the finest gourmet products on the market. Expect standout options from home and abroad — from Victoria’s own L’Artisan cheeses, to gooey double-brie iterations flown in from France. A line of curated cheese and snacking hampers will save you from any big decisions. And if you can’t make it in-store, the expansive online shop is sure to impress.

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  • 1

    As the name suggests, chef Andrew McConnell’s Meatsmith stable is best known for its specialty butchery selection. But you’ll find those fridges are also stocked with a solid array of quality grocery essentials, including some top-notch cheese varieties. Expect excellent home-grown options from Victoria’s own L’Artisan and Dreaming Goat, alongside the likes of the Genari Parmigiano Reggiano imported from Northern Italy and perhaps an 18-month-aged comté from Charles Arnaud in the Jura region. Not to mention, Meatsmith’s got a cracking range of cheese board accompaniments, from charcuterie, to house-made paté and terrine, to a great curation of vino and beer.

    Image: Harvard Wang

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