Say Cheese! The Study Melbourne Ambassadors recently enjoyed some of Melbourne’s excellent gourmet produce with a visit to Milk the Cow, a fromagerie (cheese shop) with locations in Carlton and St Kilda. Isobel Bond, Souphaphone (Nang) Thoommavongsa and Gabriel Mogollón shared their thoughts on this new and interesting culinary experience.

Isobel Bond, Australia

"Milk the Cow is the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon with cheese, wine and unlimited bread supply. This licensed fromagerie celebrates quality produce with matched wine and cheese flutes and a selection of charcuterie. It is easy to be overwhelmed by their selection of over 160 cheeses on offer, so it is best to sit back and place yourselves in the hands of their knowledgeable staff who will take you on a journey through the standout cheeses of Europe and Australia. 

For our tasting adventure we started with the king of all bries, the Rouzaire Fromage de Meaux. This brie is so loved and celebrated in France that legend has it, King Louis the 16th requested one final bite from this cheese before his untimely ending. Creamy but light on the palate, this white mould cheese is the perfect place to begin the dive into all Milk the Cow have to offer. Next, we moved on to the Epoisse Berthaut, a washed rind cheese also from France. Due to import laws, Milk the Cow can only offer a toned-down version of this cheese, which is so smelly that it is illegal to take on public transport in France. Safe to say however, if you can get past the smell the taste is sensational!"

Isobel Bond at Cheese Tasting event

Nang Thoomavongsa, Laos

On the Rouzaire cheese: “I found this cheese a bit salty, but it tasted nice alongside the crunchy white bread.

On the Epoisse Berthaut cheese: “This cheese has a very interesting story with interesting taste. It was discovered by a clever monk! It has a strong smell with a crunchy surface.”

“From this cheese tasting experience what surprised me the most was that there are some aged cheeses that can keep for more than a hundred years.”

Isobel Bond, Australia

"After our journey through France we went over to the Netherlands to try a traditional Reypenaer. Our first hard cheese of the tasting, it had a butterscotch sweetness that dissolved on the tongue and paired wonderfully with the saltiness of the olive bread. Finally, we came home to the Australian cheese, a Berry’s Creek Riverine Blue. This blue cheese is one of the few cheeses made in Australia with Buffalo milk, giving it an extraordinary creaminess. Only made seasonally due to the production constraints, Milk the Cow is one of the few places to stock this unique blue cheese."

Souphaphone (Nang) Thoommavongsa from Laos

On the Berry’s Creek Riverine Blue: “This cheese is my favorite. It has quite a strong taste when eaten by itself and when you add honey with it, it tastes so nice. It tastes even better when eaten with fruit toasts. Yummy! This is one you have to try!”

In my country, Laos, cheese is not something we eat daily and many people are not even interested in tasting it. Coming here to Australia, I have had the chance to try many different cheeses which is something that helps me to learn about and appreciate Australia’s diverse culture. Now I think, I love cheese!

Gabriel Mogollón, Colombia

"We enjoyed a great start to our cheesy afternoon with a walk along Carlton’s Lygon Street before heading to Milk the Cow. It’s a cozy, calm and fresh place with a wide variety of cheeses and wines mixed with magnificent customer service that makes you want to extend the experience for hours.

Each of the cheese options presented were splendid. The Epoisses Berthaut AOC was my favorite, and even though I’m a cheese lover, I was surprised by the mix of blue cheese and truffle honey. It was something I haven’t tried before but quickly became a part of my favourites list.  

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Cheese goes well with almost any other type of food. They even had a cheese that could be combined with coffee at the restaurant. I found that the best way to enjoy the cheese was to enjoy it on its own. In Colombia, cheese is used for many traditional dishes. However, there is a big preference for fresh cheese, with our “Pear” cheese (a Colombian version of mozzarella) being the most popular. Aged cheeses are not simply found in the market. The cheese culture in Australia is growing as well as the dairy industry. Hopefully it will become as exotic and unique as the coffee culture in Melbourne."

Isobel Bond, Australia

"Milk the Cow is the premier Melbourne destination for a little taste of European sophistication. Why journey to France when you only have to travel minutes out of the CBD? Growing up in Australia cheese is often on display, with most food tables at events having a cheese board right in the middle. Every Aussie kid has had cheese and crackers in their lunch box at one time or another, or a little red ball of BabyBel if they are particularly lucky!

Cheese culture is getting more sophisticated in Australia, with fromageries replacing the wander down to the local supermarket deli. Our dairy industry is something that we are proud of in Australia, which is part of the reason why the selection of award-winning Australian cheeses is increasing every year."

If you love cheese, there are plenty of great cheese makers found right here in Victoria, learn more about them here.