There aren’t many out there who don’t like cheese. Even the lactose-intolerant look on longingly. So Olivia Sutton knew she had a solid foundation on which to build Harper & Blohm, a new cheese shop on a picturesque street in Essendon.
Attached to the western outpost of Prince Wine Store, both Sutton and her colleagues in the wine shop felt the suburb was crying out for decent fromage: “I knew there was a pretty big gap in this area for cheese,” explains Sutton. “If anyone called looking for cheese, you’d send them to the Vic Market.”
A 10-year employee of Calendar Cheese Company and a veteran of Ireland’s excellent Sheridans Cheesemongers, Sutton puts her love of cheese down to her youth. “My family live on King Island (Tasmania), so I think, deep down, you can probably trace it back there,” she admits. “I went to boarding school, so I used to take three-kilogram bries back to the boarding house.”
With Harper & Blohm, Sutton wants to give cheese lovers the opportunity to enjoy cheeses that aren’t often available to them. “’I’m just really showcasing a lot of Australian and international benchmark cheeses that are often on restaurant menus, but aren’t often in retail stores.”
On offer are mouldy wonders such as Red Hill Blue, Fleur de Marquis, Epois, Prom Country white mould, Bruny Island’s raw milk creation, L’Artisan’s washed-rind Mountain Man and some special editions of Holy Goat. For those not willing to sink their entire week’s pay into fermented milk, Sutton’s also selling kid’s cheddar and a big slab of brie for $5.
The store will be hosting cheese appreciation masterclasses, and, thanks to its proximity to Prince, wine and beer-matching events.