Good cheese and good wine have always gone hand in hand to celebrate a special occasion. So when you have artisan cheeses paired with any sort of alcohol your heart desires, then it’s a match made in cheese lovers heaven! As this concept has moved into weddings we’ve fallen for cheese towers to replace wedding cakes, or a cheese grazing table to replace a dessert table. Laura of Milk The Cow Licensed Fromagerie will be able help you with her vast knowledge of what’s on offer. The biggest problem you will have, will be which cheeses to choose!
What was your introduction to the world of cheese and what do you love about your profession?
I started my career by studying fashion photography, of all things. Back in London, I took up a part time job in a cheese shop and they let me rearrange and merchandise the cheese counter – my eye for fashion and design helped, and pretty soon I worked out that people eat with their eyes first.
From there, I started to fall in love with all the stories behind the cheeses. My employers sent me on a specialist cheese course and there was no turning back!
I went to work for one of the UK’s most prestigious cheese shops, Paxton & Whitfield and then on a whim I decided I would come out to Australia to travel.
I arrived in St Kilda to live, knowing there probably wasn’t too much in the way of cheese jobs in Oz but then I saw an ad for Milk the Cow pretty much as soon as I got here. Fate.
Where is Milk the Cow located?
We have two fromageries – our original opened in 2012 in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda and then late 2014 we opened our Carlton venue in Lygon Street – which means you’re never too far from cheese wherever you are in Melbourne!
In practical terms what does the description of Milk the Cow as ‘Melbourne’s first late night licensed cheese shop’ mean?
In practical terms, it means that whenever you have a craving for artisan cheese and boutique wine, you can head to one of our venues pretty much anytime of the day or night and we’ll be waiting! Of course, we don’t just serve wine, we also love to match our cheeses with cocktails, cider, ports, beer and even sake.
What sorts of functions do you have at Milk The Cow?
We cater for intimate Hen Parties, gentlemanly Bull Nights as well as birthday and engagement celebrations. We have some lovely packages available that make use of our communal tables, and with the opening of Carlton we now have a private event space that can cater for up to 50 guests.
We can also provide gorgeous styled grazing tables and celebration cheese towers, or takeaway cheese for offsite events so guests can enjoy a little piece of Milk the Cow even if they’re celebrating at home or at another venue.
Cheese flights – what are these, and would you describe your favourites? Would this concept be suitable to serve at a wedding?
One of our much loved pastimes is pairing our cheeses with all manner of boutique booze. To that end, you’ll find a great array of cheese flights on our menu – four cheeses matched to four different wines, beers, ciders, sakes or whiskies, depending on your personal preference. These change weekly and allow our cheesemongers to pair plenty of new and exciting cheeses to compliment our growing beverage list.
These are more suited to an intimate group setting like a Hen Party or a Bull Party, and are included in our event packages.
For a wedding, our customized Cheese Towers or Grazing Stations are guaranteed to offer a fabulous wow factor and are more suited to the occasion.
Cheese garnished cocktails – why and how did you come up with this concept? Do you have a favourite?
Our fascination with cheese and booze went to a new level here, our handcrafted signature cocktails come garnished with a wedge of perfectly matched cheese, almost too beautiful to drink!
My personal favourite would be Milk the Corn – Truffle honey and cereal-infused milk with a good splash of King’s Ginger and Remy VSOP Cognac, garnished with Wyngaard goat cheese from the Netherlands.
Could they be offered for post ceremony or reception drinks? How would a couple go about organizing this? Is a bridal couple able to approach you to create a signature cocktail and matching cheese for them?
We can certainly offer any of our signature Milk the Cow items to be served at your Celebrations, as well as make a bespoke beverage to truly replicate the lucky couple! Our staff are also able to be onsite to talk cheese and offer guidance to your guests with interesting stories of our delicious fromage.
How do couples go about choosing cheeses for a cheese tower? Are there any ‘rules’ (in choosing the cheeses to use)? Do you offer tastings for bridal couples to help them make the selection, and give them advice on the alcohol to serve with each cheese?
Milk the Cow likes to give our brides and grooms specialised attention therefore we have set aside Wedding Tower Consultation appointments which allow you to discuss your specific requirements – themes, favourite cheeses, stylings – and be inspired by all things cheese, and of course this include tastings!
Our towers can be as grand or petite as you need, and we can match most colour briefs – from all whites to autumnal colours to blues and greys, you’d be surprised at the variety we can accomplish! Most people will have their florist add flowers to the cheese towers to really tie it in with the styling.
There are no rules for how to go about choosing your cheeses. Some couples go with their favourite cheeses, others give a nod to their family heritage or spiritual homes by choosing cheeses from different corners of the world, or you can simply leave it up to our cheesemongers to
We can certainly create the ultimate complimentary beverage listing to match your statement tower.
Can you suggest and provide accompaniments to serve with the cheese tower?
We love our homemade lavosh and freshly baked breads with our cheese. As for other accompaniments, you can’t go wrong with Spanish quince paste, muscatel clusters and truffle honey to pair with any artisan cheese.
Are you able to organize the delivery and set up of the cheese tower at a wedding?
We do include the option of delivery with any order from Milk the Cow.
Snacks are often offered to guests before they leave the reception. Can you suggest a cheesy snack suitable for this?
Our mentioned Grazing station would be the perfect night-time snack at a Reception or, we have featured some of our beautiful cheeses as bonbonierre – mini wheels of artisan cheeses and some shards of our housemade lavosh are perfect for this.
What have you discovered about the Melbourne food scene that you really enjoy?
With such a talented and ever-growing array of amazing chefs, we are truly inspired by their passion and willingness to experiment with cheese.
We are fortunate to work with a number of Melbourne’s best chefs who feature as part of our month Chefs at the Cow series. This year alone we welcome Christy Tania from Om Nom, Daniel Wilson from Huxtaburger and Huxtable, Ashly Hicks from Circa the Prince and Peter Gunn from IDES and Attica. They come into Milk the Cow and meet with me – play in our 5-metre long cabinet – to find and then create a four course cheese inspired menu with my favourite ingredient – cheese!
Thank you Laura for sharing your story with us. For more information about Milk The Cow licensed Fromagerie visit the website.
Images supplied by Milk The Cow Licensed Fromagerie.