Chatting All Things Cheese With Perth’s Burrata Barron, La Delizia Latticini’s Dom Boccia
When La Delizia Latticini first announced it was opening its doors in Vic Park there was dancing in the streets. Perth was getting its very first cheese lab, producing fresh soft curd Italian 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 produce has become the choice pick of chefs and diners across the city and common places on most menus.
We were lucky enough 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 nice part and the bad part. Luckily I came from a really nice town. We grew up fine without any problems. There is a really bad area in Napoli, where everything is just bad, you know?
Can you tell us a bit about your family’s cheese shop?
My family has had the business since my grandfather, my dad’s worked there, and me? I left and went to Australia. Of course, they weren’t too happy. These days they are unsure if the shop will continue because my brother wanted to work a different kind of job. So the shop will probably close with my father.
Before you started up La Delizia Latticini you worked with furniture. What was the moment you finally decided to open a shop that specialised in fresh Italian cheeses?
I arrived in Australia in December 2015. I was just a backpacker staying in the Billabong Hostel. It was just me and my bag, that was it. My English wasn’t too good. In the first year I worked in security, I worked in Fremantle for a furniture shop. The next year, I took all my money – and my girlfriend’s – and we bought our first truck and we started assembling kitchens, delivering furniture and moving stuff.
The furniture business lead to us having 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 we were worried about where we could have a factory.
I started looking around at shopping centres. Believe me, I was so scared. The rent, all of it. I was just a normal guy with some savings. I found a good spot in Vic Park and I just thought lets ‘do it.’ I was projecting everything, and we opened our small intro shop in there.
How important to you was installing a viewing window into the Cheese Lab?
I felt that people needed to know how we make the cheese. When you go to Coles and Woolworths and you buy cheese you have no idea how they do it. Before us, Burrata came frozen from Italy. The taste of the cheese, it was just old and bad. I went and said to my wife, ‘Why do people eat this s**t? If I’m going to make this fresh, people need to see it.’
All of the milk used at La Delizia Latticini is sourced from Bannister Down’s Dairy in the state’s south west. What unique qualities does this milk lend to the final product compared to that found in Campania?
The quality here in Australia is really high. In Italy, cows are just raised in factories for their milk. Here the cows are much more free, the quality is excellent. We are extremely happy with what we have.
Your burrata, mozzarella, scarmoza and ricotta have found themselves a part of numerous dishes across Perth, but your stracciatella has made one of the biggest impacts. Why do you think this cheese has been so embraced by so many people?
Here people are big fans of the creamy stuff. The cream that we use is special, inside hides the true mozzarella. That’s what it is, just mozzarella and cream crushed by hand. A lot of people use it as a dipping cheese and chefs see it as a base that they can use to express many different dishes.
Can you tell me a bit about your new Pasta Lab?
We have a gorgeous kitchen, I knew we could do something more with it. This friend of mine, Fabio, has been working in proper Italian restaurants where everything is made completely from scratch. Fresh, fresh, fresh. I said to him ‘we have this place, let’s work something out together. What do you think we can do?’ Because we needed that perspective from a proper chef, you know?
I said ‘let’s make a dish with our cheese and some of your fresh pasta.’ If you want to experience a proper Italian dish the pasta can’t be dry. It needs to be fresh.
La Delizia Latticini has quickly become a much loved institution amongst the Perth community. How have you found the warm welcome?
When we started it was during COVID. The first month was a bit hard with rent, loans and the bank. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to pay them back. We started really small to work properly with people who came into the shopping centre. We’ve built a really nice relationship with our customers.
What sorts of things are you looking forward to exploring heading into the future?
WA is a big market, but production costs here are really high compared to Italy. For example, with our mozzarella we use top of the range ingredients and you can’t always find it in every restaurant. You’ll find it at places like Canteen, Pappagallo, Basilico, The Elford… Places that really want to use the best possible produce. At the moment we can’t be everywhere but people are aware, and they can tell the difference when they’re eating a pizza using our cheese. It makes a huge difference.
La Delizia Latticini is located at the Hawaiian’s Park Centre in East Victoria Park.
Header Image: La Delizia Latticini’s burrata looking delish at Canteen Pizza.