Harper & Blohm Brunswick
Cheesemonger Olivia Sutton opened Harper & Blohm in Essendon – attached to the western outpost of Prince Wine Store – in 2014, a space the business soon outgrew.
The Brunswick space opened in November 2018. It’s bigger and has a French Provincial vibe, with timber-panelled finishes in navy, taupe, grey and cream; marble benchtops; and a pressed-metal ceiling. The store offers a small menu and take-home meals, such as mac’n’cheese.
There are decent salads, quiche and baguettes, but the grilled-cheese sandwiches are the stars. The classic three-cheese oozes with cheddar, gruyere, raclette and caramelised onion, and a Tarwin blue-cheese toastie with rocket and walnut is balanced with the sweetness of pear. There’s also a mushroom, taleggio, truffle pecorino and rosemary option.
The custom-made cheese fridges hold a rotating hand-picked range, which includes traditional clothbound cheddars; the semi-hard, brine-washed Holy Goat’s Nectar Tomme; El Esparto’s Manchego Artesano, a hard, ewe’s-milk cheese from Spain; Aphrodite halloumi, a stretched-curd cheese great for grilling or pan frying; Shaw River’s buffalo mozzarella; and Stone and Crow’s Nightwalker, a small washed-rind cheese. Sutton’s pick is the Colston Bassett Stilton from Neal’s Yard Dairy in London.
There are pates and terrines from City Larder, capocollo and ham from Bundarra Berkshires charcuterie, Wild Hen Farm eggs, Santa Teresa Spanish quince paste, and The Good Seed kefir. Bread is from Tivoli Road, Ovens Street, Q Le Baker and Wild Life Bakery. There’s also milk from St David, Shaw River and Schulz yoghurts, French crème fraiche, Italian mascarpone and cultured butters.
The shop does wedding “cheese cakes”, too. They’re built by piling entire wheels of cheese on top of one another, some adorned with quince paste, others with fresh flowers.