Despite the name, Prahran Market cheese shop Maker & Monger has never been able to explore the "maker" part of the moniker. But that's set to change in late June when Anthony Femia upgrades from an antique French food cart to a space he's dubbed the "chapel of cheese".
Taking over the Harvest Hall site previously occupied by Cioccolato Lombardo, Maker & Monger 2.0 will be an "all-encompassing cheese shop that highlights the entire process from milk to maturation through to enjoying the end product in a wonderful dish," says Femia.
With branding and concepts by Studio at Large, and a fitout by Arteveneta, the shop will feature a carrara marble benchtop, American walnut and steel fixtures, brass lightshades and green tiling.
But the main attraction will be a seven-metre fridge large enough to display more than 50 different cheeses, including whole wheels of hand-selected Marcel Petite comte, specially made cheeses from local microdairies including Stone & Crow and L'Artisan, and other artisan and farmhouse cheeses from Australia and the world.
Femia, who studied cheese maturation at Neal's Yard Dairy in London, the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont, and with "cheese whisperer" Ivan Larcher in France, will also have a purpose-built maturation room, enabling him to age cheese on site..
He will expand the menu, too. Alongside the popular "grillz" (grilled cheese toasties), there'll be fondue, a weekly bruschetta made with fresh cheese and produce from neighbouring market vendors, a Cubano sandwich filled with comte and roast pork shoulder and ham from Gary's Meats, and a seasonal soup.
He also plans to collaborate with That's Amore Cheese to make stretched curd cheeses on site for dishes such as beetroot-infused stracciatella with zaatar.
"I'm excited to finally live up to our name," says Femia.
Maker & Monger will open at shop 97 Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra, at the end of June.