Food in Focus: The Cheese Merchant at Emerald Hill Deli

There is no doubt that we love food here at Future Food. We constantly head out in Melbourne and the cities in which our we travel to to immerse ourselves in the food, hospitality and culture to find the best there is on offer. Take one of us to a restaurant with you and we will assess the menu, check the food and analyse the experience all in the name of research. We work hard to understand food and the business behind it so we can refine our expertise and pass it on to our projects and clients. Our ‘Food in Focus’ series introduces you to some of the team’s favourite foodie spots both in our hometown of Melbourne and around the globe. These are the spots that we love for their offer, their hospitality and the memorable experience that comes with it. First up is Francis’ favourite deli, Emerald Hill Deli, found at the South Melbourne Market in Melbourne - the place you’ll find him most Saturday mornings filling up his shopper with beautiful cheese and delicious charcuterie. 

The Cheese Merchant at Emerald Hill Deli

Come to Emerald Hill Deli on the weekend at you’ll need to be ready to throw down your cheese order in a flash or be equipped with patience and the skill of weaving to make your way through the masses into the cheese room to try (and most definitely buy) from one of Melbourne’s finest cheese selections. Maria Totos, who was born and raised on the Greek island of Evia, is the determined and hard-working woman behind Emerald Hill. Over the last 30 years, she has poured her love of cooking and family into this deli to dish us up homemade dips, family pies, quiches, pasta and biscuits along with the most interesting and enticing cheese rooms there is. 

Of those 30 years Maria has been in business, Future Food’s managing director, Francis has been a customer for a good portion of them. “I’ve been going to the South Melbourne Market for 25 years and it did not take long before I added the Emerald Hill Deli as part of my Saturday fresh food shop” . A successful hospitality business always offers an experience, one that sticks in the mind of the customer long after their visit and Emerald Hill Deli was added to Francis’ list of great food experiences very early on. 

Upon entering the small yet abundantly stocked store, you are greeted by men and women asking if you need any assistance. If it’s your first time here, you should most definitely take them up on this offer as chances are they’ve got something in stock that you’ve never tried before. The cheese room is a must-see and can be found right at the back of the shop. It’s got cheeses stacked from top to bottom from all over the world and you’ll almost always find a small group of people inside having their personal cheese selection parcelled up after an hospitable tasting experience. This is one of the aspects of Emerald Hill that makes it shine - there’s no pressure to buy before you try. The team will always let you in on a piece of the cheese their pushing or pair their knowledgable opinion of their charcuterie with a slice just to ensure you agree with their recommendation. It’s this level of customer service together with their extensive offer and genuine love of what they do that makes the Emerald Hill Deli such a stand out. 

Whether you have a cheese board to fill, a special ingredient to find or are just looking to treat yourself then a visit to Emerald Hill Deli is a must. Tell them a taste, a feeling or an unknown ingredient you’re after and the team will take you on a journey to ensure you walk out of there with just what you need, even if you didn’t know you needed it before you entered. “In my opinion, a visit to emerald Hill Deli is the best way to spend a Saturday morning (or any other time)!”


South Melbourne Market 

Stall Number: 23

Phone: (03) 9690 5783 | Website


  • Voted Melbourne’s Best Deli, Melbourne Market Awards 2014.
  • Voted South Melbourne Market’s Favourite Deli, Melbourne Market Awards 2015.