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The Farmers and the Winemaker Part 1: The cheeese

Published by Paul O'Sullivan in The Farmers and the Winemake · 17/3/2016 15:08:28
Tags: MelbourneFoodandWineFestival

Since starting the Food Adventures business three years ago, we’ve loved sharing the story of the meat we produce as well as other great Gippsland produce – there have been new friendships forged, challenging recipes attempted and shared, lots of laughs and a bit of stress!
However, last Saturday night’s dinner (as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2016) was absolutely one of the highlights. The night showcased my three favourite food groups – cheese, red meat and wine – and brought together a mix of family, old friends and new ones. And the meal was a spectacular feast created by celebrated Melbourne chef Josh Pelham, with superb wines matched and supplied by industry legend Phillip Jones of Bass Phillip winery.
The evening started at our favourite place on the farm – in our conserved bush among the eucalypts and grass trees, overlooking local farmland. Under the circumstances, cheese was an obvious starting point (although the French would be mortified to see cheese so early in the menu!).
But what cheese??
In our part of the world we are blessed to have so many REALLY good cheese makers within close proximity. They work their magic with cows’, sheep’s, goats’ and even buffalo milk. On this occasion we selected a blue, washed rind and semi-hard cheese.

Barry Charlton’s trophy cabinet is overflowing with awards and ribbons. His Berrys Creek range of six blue cheeses are sensational. He started making his artisan cheeses at Poowong, before moving to state of the art facilities at Fish Creek. We offered the Tarwin Blue, a superb cows’ milk cheese, full of flavour, although he has probably won more awards with his Riverine Blue –made from milk from a Gippsland based buffalo herd.
For a soft cheese, we considered one of the Pangrazzi range of camembert and brie from Fish Creek, but ended up choosing a wheel of Tarago River Jensens Red. This is a washed rind style with the typical orange coat - stinky, runny and yummy! Tarago River make a full range of cheeses, made from milk produced on their own farm, near Warragul.

There HAD to be a cheese from Prom Country Cheeses. You have to be impressed with Burke and Bronwyn Brandon who have recently established a sheep dairy and cheese making facility in the hills above Inverloch. After moving from their base at Red Hill Cheese, they have completely developed the farm and cellar door. Burke makes a range of soft, hard and blue cheeses - his Venus Blue was last year recognised in Richard Cornish’s top 30 food products in Australia - However we selected his Prom Picnic cheese, a semi-hard Pecorino style. It had been matured for 5 months, and tasted beautiful!
A couple of years ago I made a pilgrimage to France to travel my own "route des fromages", tasting Normandy’s Camembert, Livarot and Pont-l’Eveque, then further south to Roquefort. It took a few days driving 400-500km. But consider this - we have all these cheese styles, made to excellent standards, right on our doorstep! Gippsland Food Adventures would be pleased to arrange a tour – possibly Gippsland’s own "route des fromages". Contact us on 0419 153377.



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