Harper & Blohm is a speciality cheese shop and cafe in Melbourne, offering a superb collection of cheeses from Australia and around the globe. We caught up with owner Olivia Sutton to hear more about her life as a cheesemonger in Australia...
We’re so excited to be working with Harper & Blohm to help spread the message of our award-winning clothbound cheddar down under. Can you tell us a bit about Harper & Blohm and how it started?
Harper & Blohm opened in March 2014 in a very small area within The Prince Wine Store in Essendon, Melbourne. We outgrew this tiny shop after 4 years with our business now having an online store, a monthly cheese subscription delivery, supplying local restaurants and bars with cheese, offering catering and celebration cheesecakes and attending weekly farmers markets selling our Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Raclette. In October 2018 we relocated to a larger shop to accommodate our growing business to Sydney Road, Brunswick. We stock some of the finest farmhouse and artisan cheeses from Australia, Europe, the UK and the USA, we run a traditional cheese counter where we cut to order, not a common practice in Australia. Our purposefully small and ever-changing selection ensures that every cheese you buy is at peak ripeness for maximum eating pleasure. Harper & Blohm is named after my grandmothers, using both their maiden names.
How did you become a cheesemonger? Did you have to train or go on any courses?
After working in restaurants, I worked for the Calendar Cheese Company (Quicke's distributer) in Melbourne for a number of years as an account manager, selling cheese to restaurants and retailers in Victoria and Tasmania. During
my time there I took a year out and lived in Dublin where I worked for Sheridan’s
Cheesemongers were I learnt to be a Cheesemonger as such.
Did you have to train or go on any courses?
I have undertaking training to become a cheese judge at the Grand Dairy Awards and Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria.
Which Quicke’s cheeses do you stock in your cheese shop?
Vintage, Extra Mature & Oak Smoked Cheddar
Can you tell us about some of your favourite cheesemakers in Australia?
Holy Goat – Ann-Marie Monda and Carla Meurs, they have a small organic goats farm in central Victoria. They make a range of lactic-set cheeses, widely regarded as the best in Australia.
Shaw River – The Haldane family were the first people to bring milking buffalo into Australia in 1995. They make handmade mozzarella on their farm in South Western Victoria. I’m also a huge fan of their pot set buffalo yogurt.
Section 28 – Kym Masters fell in love with cheese while living in Northern Italy, returning to the Adelaide Hills he left his banking career to make hard and semi-hard alpine-style cheese. Kym uses raw milk in some cheeses, often making small-batch seasonal specialties. What I admire about Kym is that he is constantly tweaking and improving his cheese.
Berrys Creek – Multi award-winning cheesemaker Barry Charlton is Australia’s king of blue cheese! He makes a range of cow, buffalo and ewes milk nature rinded blue cheese in Gippsland, Victoria. Our 'Barrys Blue' a blue cheese, pear, rocket and walnut toastie that we sell in the shop is named after Barry.
What’s the most unusual cheese you stock?
Berrys Creek Riverine Blue. It's not that unusual as we have been selling it for years, but we know from our customers' response when we say this is a buffalo milk blue, that it’s not that common to find blue cheese made from buffalo milk.
Wildest cheese pairing you’ve experienced?
Candied Ginger & Dark Chocolate with aged Gouda and it was amazing. This was put to us in a class with Betty Koster from Fromagerie L’Amuse.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy Quicke’s cheese?
On a ploughman’s board. I often build my own version from raiding the kitchen cool room if I’m in the office on a day when we are closed.
Why is speciality cheese so important?
To preserve and maintain traditional cheese making, to keep the craft alive, to support family-run businesses and farmers. If we don’t support speciality cheese these crafts and skills will be lost and we will only have mass-produced uniformed industrial cheese and nobody wants that!
Harper & Blohm's Oak Smoked Cheddar, Onion & Thyme Scones
Donation to Australia Fires