La Latteria, Mozzarella laboratory

‘Laboratory’ is the key word to use for this little piece of fresh cheese heaven, where the magic of cheese making – and especially, mozzarella making – happens on a daily basis in the tiny backroom of the Melbourne cheese shop of Giorgio Linguanti and Kirsty Laird, La Latteria.

Fresh mozzarella – bright, weighty, balls of silky, white cheese is hand-stretched and formed in the laboratory. Its decadent cousin, burrata, is a mozzarella casing holding a creamy filling, tied in a knot like a milky water balloon.

With expert hands that are used to the scalding temperatures needed to make the cheese soft and pliable, Laird forms several mozzarella balls in a matter of minutes. From crumbling curds, to stretchy lengths of elastic cheese, it’s like watching a magician’s hands, except mozzarella are flying out instead of doves.

The little shop is where you can find not only cheese, but also fresh unhomogenised milk straight from the farm, yogurt and some local produce like walnuts or muscatel grapes – the kinds of things that would sit well on a cheese board.

The display case is filled with Italianate cheeses from diavoletti to scamorza to fresh baskets of buffalo milk ricotta. Marco can’t go past the squacquerone, a beautiful, fresh creamy cheese typical of Emilia-Romagna that he spreads generously onto homemade piadine with prosciutto and rocket.

But there’s nothing like a ball of freshly made mozzarella, broken up roughly with fingers over toasted bread and dressed in just some extra virgin olive oil, salt flakes and fresh herbs. Heaven.

Fresh mozzarella needs very little adornment and always goes well with extra virgin olive oil, but here are a few other ideas:

  • Broken up into pieces and added to a fresh tomato and basil salad for the classic caprese
  • A topping of fresh chunks of mozzarella, salted anchovy fillets and fresh herbs for a tasty bruschetta
  • Tear into large pieces to top steaming bowls of pasta al pomodoro – warmed from the pasta, the fresh mozzarella becomes beautifully creamy.
  • Although I think the best way to enjoy mozzarella is fresh, there is something amazing about wrapping smaller balls of mozzarella in lardo and grilling very lightly or until the lardo just begins to turn translucent. Amazing.

How to keep your fresh mozzarella: ideally, this is a handmade product that you want to eat the day that it is made. Otherwise, if stored in its whey or brine, it can keep up to a week.


  1. Zita says:

    Beautiful post, Emiko! I’m so looking forward to seeing you again and the others. It’ll be so much fun… and so much food involved, I bet! 🙂

  2. What a simply stunning post. I can imagine few things more wonderful than visiting a mozzarella factory and those photos of them shaping the cheese are just gorgeous.

    • Emiko says:

      Thanks, it’s fascinating, I highly recommend a visit to see mozzarella-making first hand if you ever get a chance! This place in particular, which is more of a tiny artisan laboratory than a factory – you can get up close!

  3. Rosa says:

    I’d love to visit such a place! Artisan cheeses are just irresistible.



  4. It really does look heavenly! I wish there was a mozzarella shop like that here where I live.

    • Emiko says:

      I think we’re pretty lucky – hubby was worried about not finding good, fresh mozzarella like you can in Italy here in Melbourne but this place has it all!

  5. Such great food you have there in Melbourne!!
    Wish I had a shop like that around here!

  6. Louisa says:

    I’ve been meaning to get down to this place for ages, must go this week! Also Emiko, a non cheese related question for you, as you seem to be in the know regarding food shopping in Melbourne. Where do you go for the best sausages? I really miss great Italian sausages, I’d been grateful if you would share! Thank you!

    • Emiko says:

      Hi Louisa! My favourite Italian sausages are the ones from Mediterranean Wholesalers’ deli in Brunswick (they have mild and hot versions, all pork of course). Brenta Meats in Fairfield make their own Italian sausages which are great too, though a slightly different style.

  7. Louisa says:

    Brilliant, thank you!

  8. I learnt how to make ricotta and mozzarella a while back … make ricotta often, but have never attempted mozzarella. You’ve just inspired me to get my cheese on! Or find a mozzarella laboratory near me. Great post, and photographs that really capture the process. Well done!

  9. Tony says:

    I know I’m reading this a bit late but the sausages at mediterranean wholesalers are actually made by nino’s and joe’s meats near by there at 317 Victoria st brunswick they also supply a lot of delis all around Melbourne.

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