"Whatever you do, do it with love!" - Giorgio Linguanti
Giorgio Linguanti, the owner of That’s Amore Cheese [66 Latitude Blvd, Thomastown], is quite the character. Having moved to Melbourne from Sicily in 2004, without knowing a word of English, he has managed to build a cheese empire, with a deli, café and factory that employs over 80 staff in the city of Whittlesea. This week we sat down with him to learn more about his story, his passion for cheese and why he loves his local area.
In 2004 I arrived on the shores of Port Phillip Bay. In only four years, I went from not speaking a word of English to opening my own cheese company, winning an award at the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards. After my experience in two different cheese factories, I started That’s Amore in 2008. I began with just one product –bocconcini leaf, which was a huge hit with the Italian restaurants. Chef’s were very excited by my products. Before long I was also making burrata and smoked scarmorze. The business grew rapidly and in 2010, That’s Amore Cheese took over the old Donnybrook Cheese Factory. In April 2015, That’s Amore Cheese moved into a larger facility in Thomastown, accommodating a beautiful deli and café.
I grew up in Sicily, where my career had nothing to do with cheese, or even food. I was actually in advertising. Then, two years prior to coming to Australia I worked in a small shop selling regional food products typical of the Aeolian Island (off the north-east coast of Sicily). We sold local delicacies like organic capers, jams and tuna in oil. This sparked my interest in food. Once in Melbourne, I got a job in a cheese factory where my passion for making cheese ignited.
They can expect to feel truly at home, surrounded by a friendly atmosphere and an Italian vibe. It’s one of those places that you plan on going to buy one or two things but end up with a trolley and belly full instead!
At our shop you can find a large variety of super fresh cheeses made daily in our factory close by.
We also have an amazing selection of cured meats, fresh bread, gourmet local and imported products and more cheese. Every morning we have ricotta served still warm from production.
At our café you can sit down and enjoy fantastic dishes made daily, following the traditional Italian recipes, like the unmissable juicy porchetta, pasta, pizzas and cannoli.
The fact that you can buy cheese from the same place it was made that very same morning. We get our ricotta calda straight from production, still piping hot. It’s something very unique for Melbourne and very traditionally Italian. Everything at That’s Amore is made with love. If you make it with love the results are obvious, it’s got to be good. That’s why I chose the name That’s Amore, that means That’s Love!
At That’s Amore we are super proud of our cheese making philosophy that is all about local and fresh ingredients to create high quality products. We source all our milk farm fresh in Victoria. The cow’s milk comes from the Gippsland area and the buffalo farm is located near Echuca. Most of our cheese is still handmade following traditional Italian recipes, and we are proudly 100% natural. In fact, we don’t use any preservatives or artificial colours, just good farm fresh milk from grass fed cows.
I feel very lucky to have a team of 80 gorgeous people that help me at That’s Amore Cheese. I choose people who are passionate about what they do, for me that’s the key to everything. We have a fantastic sales team around Melbourne, and they also deal with interstate distributors. There’s eight delivery drivers on the road every day, and we have around 20 people making cheese guided by our Production Manager and cheesemaker Helen. We also have a very active marketing and events department, two shop fronts (That’s Amore Retail Outlet and La Latteria Cheese Factory), dispatch department, quality assurance department and an office team. A new department is export, we started exporting last year and are currently selling in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Macau, Philippines… so the team is quite big!
I don’t have a favourite cheese, I loved them all equally, like my kids!
People come from all over Melbourne to shop at our deli and have something delicious to eat at our café. The crowd favourites are definitely the cannoli and our porchetta di casa, cooked every morning in house and served in a roll. Customers also love our new cheese degustation menu, where they can order different cheese platters to try our cheese range.
This question is easy to answer for me, Thomastown is where everything started for me, it’s where I started That’s Amore Cheese and where my heart is. After a couple of years, I had to move to Donnybrook because I needed my own space, but I always wanted to come back to this area. And finally, in 2015 I managed to come back and build a brand new facility to expand That’s Amore Cheese.
What I love about the City of Whittlesea is the fact that it’s an elegant blend between countryside and city. Another wonderful thing about the area is the community, I always feel supported by the locals and local businesses, it is like a big family for me!
Whatever you do, do it with love!