Autumn Cheese News

Sorry it’s been a long time between newsletters…. we just realized our last one was before Christmas! Not for lack of news, but more lack of time to sit down and get creatively writing!

Cheese Awards

The annual Cuisine Champions of Cheese awards have just been announced with several of our cheesemakers doing very well. As usual the Dutch styles were the stars with Barry’s Bay Gouda and Mahoe Edam taking the top awards and Karikaas taking a category award. Amongst other winners were Crescent Dairy Goats, Over the Moon Dairy and Emilio Festa. Here is a link to the full list of award winners:

New cheeses

We’ve followed the story of Biddy Fraser-Davies at Cwmglyn cheese closely over the past few years. She is definitely the smallest commercial cheese maker in New Zealand, only milking three or four cows on her Eketahuna farm and making one or two cheeses per day. It has had a real battle for her with authorities over the years to be able to produce and sell to the public, but she is now closely involved with the MPI working on a specific code of best practice for very small cheesemakers. We applaud her tenacity in convincing the ‘powers that be’ to take a more common sense approach to the smaller producers who work so differently to a large production line type operation. The cheeses we have are from Patsy and Isobel (the cows) and are a farmhouse, lactic curd cheese with sweetness that will benefit from just a little more maturing. Look out on our Facebook page for when we cut them.

Emilio Festa’s cheeses are a welcome addition to our range of local cheese. Originally from Northern Italy Emilio concentrates on fresh cheeses such as Strecchino, Crescenza and Ricotta. and we have been a trying these for the last year at the Farmers markets (and also the delicate and delicious pastries made by his wife!). He is finally registered to sell to other retailers like us. Based in Aylesbury, he uses local milk and we hope to be getting weekly deliveries of his super fresh products.

Another wonderful addition to our rather limited selection of New Zealand blues is the Clevedon Buffalo blue. Super rich and creamy, sweet and spicy, very different from any of the European blues we currently stock. It will be for a limited time only as Clevedon have decided to stop making cheeses other than their fantastic Mozzerella and yoghurts.

Other new products

We’ve long been looking for a locally made biscuit or cracker and thanks to a regular customer who relocated to the Coromandel, we are now stocking organic oatcakes from The Humble Oatcake in Thames. Amanda Ewing had been perfecting this recipe over the years and we think it is absolutely delicious. The Oatcakes come in three different sizes, very small cocktail, oval and traditional rounds. $9 per 150-170gm packet.

Stonefruit season has arrived and I’ve made a batch of our seasonal Spicy Nectarine Chutney. This year it is super spicy as I underestimated the freshness of the Cayenne and might have over done it!

Cheese Slices Visit

This week we had an exciting day with Will Studd and the crew from Cheese slices. They managed to arrive in the middle of our 100yr storm so the visits to local cheesemakers didn’t quite work out due to flooded roads and power cuts. Hopefully we were able to show off some of the best of New Zealand’s cheese in between his entertaining gossip about cheese, cheesemaking and the politics of the wider cheese world. The show is due to screen later in the year on Choice TV (free to air channel 12), including (maybe) a demonstration of the ancient art of making an Eccles Cake!

Other News

In the bakery we have again started making plain and chocolate croissants, these are available on Friday mornings. We have also been asked about our Xmas mince pie recipe, we will add this to our Website along with the Hot Cross Bun one in the near future.

With the sudden change in weather it’s time to think about Fondue and Raclette evenings. We have started collecting fondue sets and are happy to lend these out (providing you get your cheese from us!). We also have a Raclette grill, suitable for larger parties.

We welcome Lisa Drace to our team. She has recently started and is working in the bakery and in the cheese room.

Finally, welcome back to one of our pre-quake customers, Mitchelli’s formerly of Poplar lane are opening in The Tannery in the next week or so. They will be keeping to their simple but perfectly executed Italian cafe style food and service, including stocking the best cheese ofcourse!