La Latteria is Melbourne's first cheesier, selling cheese, milk and yoghurt – and only cheese, milk and yoghurt – out of a Carlton shop, where the cheese is made daily on the premises.
Mixing up creamy whites in big vats and hand stretching curd is all in a day’s work for chef turned cheese maker Kirsty Laird. After working in the kitchen for many years, most recently as head chef at Tutto Bene in Southgate, Laird teamed up with her cheese supplier, Giorgio Linguanti of That's Amore Cheese in Thomastown. "He taught me all he knows and now we have La Latteria together," she relays excitedly.
They are calling it a laboratory, and this is actually the feeling you get when you walk in. The place feels quite sterile, the interior is stark white, and the smell is a bit like walking into a milking shed. Large milk vats sit on shelves and big wheels of parmigiano and pecorino lie in the fridge next to the pots of yoghurt and glass bottles of farm-fresh milk, which you can return after use to have sterilised and refilled.
But it’s the mozzaralla that people flock here for, as they have been doing since the lab’s opening only two weeks ago. Specialising in southern Italian cheeses, La Latteria has a display fridge full of bocconcini, fior di latte, smoked cheese such as scamorza – a semi-soft tear-drop shaped cheese – and caciocavallo (literally 'cheese on horseback', referring to the traditional maturing technique of suspending the cheese over a pole). Bound with rope and coated in wax for a sharper, more matured flavour is their Provolone made from calf rennet; it sits next to cheese baskets full of ricotta, and buffalo mozzarella made with curd from water buffalo in northern Queensland.
"The idea is for people to come and buy milk and cheese every day. That is the way it is made to be eaten, on the day or the next."
104 Elgin Street Carlton
Ph 9347 9009
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-2pm