If you’ve ever been to The Craft & Co, you know what we mean when we say it’s a foodie’s dream come true. Inside this grey corner building, the team of makers and creators distill gin, roast coffee, prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner, brew beer, make their own cheese and smallgoods and function as a winery!
As you walk in the front door, look left, to the selection of wines, craft beer and cold drinks waiting, as well as the distillery, sitting proudly in the front windows. Gleaming in front of you is a deli with an awe-inspiring and extensive selection of cheeses, meats and boutique goods, while a sit-up bar for coffee and drinks tucks into the front room. If you walk in further you’ll spot the cafe and roaster.
Head out the back to check out the shiny brewery before heading upstairs where a beautiful function space flooded with natural light awaits. The warehouse-style loft boasts glass-walled, temperature-controlled dairy and meat rooms, which house some of the incredible produce you see downstairs.
With so much going on, it’s hard knowing what to explore first. Luckily for the inner foodies in us, a selection of classes offers an intimate look at each element, allowing you to get amongst the culinary action.
If you’re a coffee lover, a cupping class will teach you the ins and outs of the perfect brew, while learning to taste and identify the flavours in your cup. Considering yourself a bit of a gin fiend? The introduction to distilling class will guide you step by step through production methods, with a few tastings here and there.
Want to become a bee keeper? Learn about how to harvest your own honey, with all the equipment and advice you’ll need. Love cheese? So do we! We signed up to the cheesemaking class to give it a go.
We headed upstairs to the dairy room, where expert cheesemaker, Gerard Callanan, from the Little Yarra Cheese Company taught us how to make creamy Camembert at home. We received detailed recipes on how to actually craft the cheese, with a few cheeky suggestions here and there. Together, we cut and stirred the curds and whey and then strained the mixture into moulds. It would be another four weeks before our masterpieces were ready to consume, as they need time to develop in flavour.
With cheese on our minds, we were all very excited when it came to tasting time. Taking a seat at the long wooden table, we were each provided tasting paddles with buffalo mozzarella, Romano and Brie, of which the latter two were made on-site. To top off The Craft & Co experience, we were also treated to the house-made pale ale, some gin from the distillery and a glass of wine.
With our brains fed and ready for more, we headed back to work, learning how to use the excess whey to make ricotta. Literally meaning ‘to cook again’, ricotta is a secondary product made from the leftover production of cheese.
Unlike the Camembert, ricotta doesn’t need four weeks to craft and we were able to taste it straight away, hot and salty. Certainly the easier of the two methods, we left feeling empowered to try this at home.
Stop in to learn something new and stay on to try some of their beautiful produce, it’s the ultimate weekend activity.