When La Delizia Latticini first announced it was opening in Vic Park, there was dancing in the streets. Perth was hosting its very first cheese lab, producing fresh Italian soft cheeses by third generation cheesemaker Domenico Boccia! Fast forward to two years later and La Delizia Latticini has become a Perth staple. Their exceptional artisanal products have become the choice of chefs and diners across the city and commonplace on most menus.
We had the chance to chat with Dom about the journey that led to La Delizia Latticini, growing up in Naples, and all things cheese.
What was it like growing up in Naples?
Naples is one of the best cities. There is the good and the bad. Fortunately, I come from a very beautiful city. We grew well without any problems. There is a very bad neighborhood in Naples, where everything is bad, you know?
Can you tell us a bit about your family’s cheese dairy?
My family has had the business since my grandfather, my father worked there, and me? I left and went to Australia. Of course, they weren’t too happy. These days they don’t know if the workshop will continue because my brother wanted to do another type of work. So the shop will probably close with my dad.
Before creating La Delizia Latticini, you worked with furniture. When did you finally decide to open a shop specializing in Italian fresh cheeses?
I arrived in Australia in December 2015. I was just a backpacker staying at Billabong Hostel. It was just me and my bag, that was it. My English was not very good. The first year I worked in security, I worked in Fremantle for a furniture store. The following year, I took all my money – and my girlfriend’s – and we bought our first truck and started assembling kitchens, delivering furniture and moving house.
The furniture industry has led us to have four trucks and six guys on the road every day. The cheese project was always in the back of my mind, but I didn’t think it was possible here. We needed money and wondered where we could have a factory.
I started looking in malls. Believe me, I was so scared. The rent, all that. I was just a normal guy with some savings. I found a great spot in Vic Park and figured I had to do it. I was planning everything, and we opened our little introductory shop there.
How important was it for you to install a viewing window in the Cheese Lab?
I felt people needed to know how we make cheese. When you go to Coles and Woolworths and buy cheese you don’t know how they make it. Before us, the Burrata arrived frozen from Italy. The cheese taste, it was just old and bad. I went and said to my wife, ‘Why do people eat this shit? If I want to make it fresh, people have to see it.
All the milk used at La Delizia Latticini comes from Bannister Down’s Dairy in the southwest of the state. What unique qualities does this milk give to the final product compared to that found in Campania?
The quality here in Australia is really high. In Italy, cows are simply raised in factories for their milk. Here the cows are much freer, the quality is excellent. We are extremely happy with what we have.
Your burrata, mozzarella, scarmoza and ricotta have found their way into many dishes across Perth, but your stracciatella has had one of the biggest impacts. Why do you think this cheese has been so well received by so many people?
People here are big fans of the creamy stuff. The cream we use is special, inside hides the real mozzarella. That’s right, just hand-crushed mozzarella and cream. Many people use it as a dipping cheese and chefs see it as a base they can use to express many different dishes.
Can you tell me a bit about your new Pasta Lab?
We have a wonderful kitchen, I knew we could do something more with it. This friend of mine, Fabio, has worked in real Italian restaurants where everything is completely made from scratch. Fresh, fresh, fresh. I told him ‘we have this place, let’s do something together’. What do you think we can do? Because we needed that perspective from a real leader, you know?
I said “let’s make a dish with our cheese and some of your fresh pasta”. If you want to experience a good Italian dish, pasta cannot be dry. It must be fresh.
The Delizia Latticini has quickly become a much-loved institution in the Perth community. How did you find the warm welcome?
When we started it was during COVID. The first month was a bit rough with rent, loans and the bank. I was afraid of not being able to repay them. We started very small to work properly with the people who came to the mall. We have built a very good relationship with our customers.
What kinds of things are you looking forward to exploring in the future?
WA is a big market, but production costs here are very high compared to Italy. For example, with our mozzarella, we use premium ingredients and you can’t always find them in every restaurant. You’ll find it at places like Canteen, Pappagallo, Basilico, The Elford… Places that really want to use the best products possible. At the moment we can’t be everywhere, but people are aware and can tell the difference when they eat pizza with our cheese. It makes a huge difference.
The Delizia Latticini is located at the Hawaiian’s Park Center in East Victoria Park.
Header image: La Delizia Latticini’s burrata is delicious canteen pizza.