Thursday, 28 December 2006

King Island Dairy Stormy

Back in Tasmania and King Island Dairy for this next cheese - which has got to be one of my favourites.

king island stormy© by haalo

King Island Stormy is a washed rind cheese, similar in style to the Pont L'Eveque from Normandy. The one most obvious characteristic you'll notice with this cheese is it's smell. Yes, it stinks but in a nice way. It's not an unpleasant aroma but I'll offer this bit of advice, do not store it in a fridge that is not your own.

It's described as having "a wild aroma", I tend to use the term earthy. It's the type of scent that you will get to used to and I do hope it doesn't put people off because I really want you to try it, just be aware.

king island stormy© by haalo

The cheese has a thin white mould that hints to the saffron skin that lies behind. The rind is mild and perfectly edible. You'll also find, which is probably most surprising, that the cheese is creamy, sweet and mild in taste - something you wouldn't have expected based solely on it's aroma. It's a firmish cheese that slices quite well.

It also was awarded Champion Washed Rind Cheese at the 2006 Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

I really do hope that if you have the opportunity that you'll give this cheese a try and maybe you'll love as much as I do.

Information about King Island Dairy can be found in this earlier post.

Originally published here

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Red Hill Cheese Sorrento Picnic

This is another cheese from Red Hill Cheese - you can find out more about the dairy in my earlier post.

red hill sorrento picnic© by haalo

This is the Sorrento Picnic - a cow's milk cheese made in the cheddar style. It's sold as a distinctive mini-truckle, in both whole rounds and halves.

red hill sorrento picnic© by haalo

It's quite a thin rind - and depending on maturation state, it can go from a lovely white to a beige tinged rind as this one. The more mature the cheese the darker the rind.

red hill sorrento picnic© by haalo

Inside you'll find this beautiful golden cheese - it's semi-hard, quite easy to cut with a smooth texture, it certainly doesn't crumble when you slice it. You might be able to make out the lighter coloured core - it's still a month away from full maturation.

It has a fresh, sweet aroma, more asparagus rather than mushroom notes - smooth and creamy in the mouth with a mild taste that lingers. It does have a slightly acidic finish which adds to it's clean flavour.

This would be really nice served with fresh dates.

Originally published here

Thursday, 23 November 2006

King Island Dairy Roaring Forties Blue

It's been quite remiss of me that in all the cheese I've shown so far, none have been blue cheese. What better way to redress the situation then to show the 2006 Champion of the 78th Annual British Empire Cheese Show held in Ontario, Canada. The cheese in question is the King Island Roaring Forties Blue.

king island roaring forties blue© by haalo

This is the second cheese I've shown from King Island Dairy - if you'd link a reminder, just follow this link. I should add that the name "Roaring Forties" refers to the gale winds that lash King Island - the island itself is situated at 40° latitude.

king island roaring forties blue© by haalo height=

Underneath the distinctive and knobbly blue wax you'll find a full flavoured rind-less cheese made from pasteurised cows milk and inoculated with Roquefort style moulds. After four to five weeks of maturation, the moulds have developed inside the cheese and it's then dipped in that dark blue wax. In it's oxygen deprived state, the moulds stop developing and the milks sweet and nutty characteristics appear.

king island roaring forties blue© by haalo

When sliced you'll notice that it's not as heavily veined as a Gorgonzola - it's more the case of having pockets of blue. The cheese is quite creamy and not overly salty and has an excellent mouth feel - there's a good length of flavour in the palette.

I'd class this as the type of Blue you'd give to someone who is a bit unsure of the whole "blue cheese" thing. It's appearance isn't overly confronting and there's enough blue free bits to tempt the most cautious. It's certainly a cheese to consider for that Christmas cheese platter.

Originally published here

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Holy Goat Ripe Pandora

Holy Goat was the subject of my first cheese post so I thought it might be time to return and highlight another cheese from their range - the intriguingly named Pandora. You'll find upon opening this Pandora, that only good things lie inside.

holy goat ripe pandora© by haalo

Cheese: Holy Goat Ripe Pandora
Location: Sutton Grange Organic Farm, Victoria

As mentioned previously, Holy Goat is located at Sutton Grange, in central Victoria around Bendigo, at the foothills of Mount Alexander. It's an organic farm and the milk is obtained solely from their own goat herd which is a cross of British Alpine and Swiss Saanen goats. The cheese is made using traditional farmhouse techniques and based on French soft curd styles.

Once you pick up the packet you'll immediately notice quite a bit of give - an almost jelly like sensation. It's very similar in feel to the Udder Delights Goat Camembert.

holy goat ripe pandora© by haalo

Once removed from it's silver wrapper, it looks quite normal - but looks in this case are deceiving.

There is only one way to eat this cheese. Whatever you do - don't approach it like a regular cheese. To get inside, you must cut out a lid - simply run the knife around the top edge to reveal the contents.

holy goat ripe pandora© by haalo

You do not eat the rind - it's merely the vessel that contains the gloriously viscous cheese that you spoon out and savour.

holy goat ripe pandora© by haalo

Creamy, without any of those bitter goat elements, rich without being cloying, it's a cheese you can enjoy without any feelings of bloating. You just might find yourself scraping the sides to ensure you've garnered every morsel.

holy goat ripe pandora© by haalo

Originally published here

Friday, 6 October 2006

Mungalli Creek Ricotta

Mungalli Creek is a bio-dynamic dairy located in far north Queensland and they produce a range of products that include milk, yoghurt, cheese and dips. The cheese I'm looking at today is one that is very well known to Italians - Ricotta!

mungalli creek ricotta© by haalo

Cheese Maker: Mungalli Creek
Cheese Name: Ricotta
Location: Brooks Road, Millaa Millaa

Mungalli Creek has a tasting and tea room called Out of the Whey and it's open daily from 10am-4pm.

The dairy uses bio-dynamic practice as developed by Dr Rudolph Steiner in the 1920's. While they don't use artificial chemicals or fertilisers they do use something called Preparation 500. This is basically manure packed into corn horns and buried over winter. The manure converts into colloidal humus and is said to help develop soil structure and encourage worms and other soil micro-organisms. With healthy soil you get healthy feed and in turn healthy cows.

I often used Ricotta in recipes on this blog and have always stressed the important of avoiding those bland supermarket tubs of substances that bear no real resemblance to ricotta. While I am a supporter of the basket pressed delicatessen versions, this type of ricotta is something I use when I just want to enjoy the cheese as it is. I think is as close as you can get to ricotta you've made yourself.

mungalli creek ricotta© by haalo

It's gorgeously dense and the colour of double cream - you can't help but spread it thickly on some toasted bread - which is exactly what I did, using the Seeded Orange Soda Bread.

seeded orange soda bread with ricotta© by haalo

Thickly sliced and grilled until golden, a thick layer of creamy ricotta and for sweetness, a generous drizzle of honey. A slightly decadent way to start the day.

Originally published here

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Elgaar Farm Vintage Cheddar

Elgaar Farm is located in Deloraine, 50kms west of Launceston in Tasmania. Founded by Bavarian dairy farmers Joe and Antonia Gretschmann in 1986 they set about converting the farm and by 1991 it was certified organic.

Elgaar Farm is the type of place that were you reincarnated as a Jersey Cow this would be as close to paradise as you could get. Here, every cow is named, they are free to roam the organic pastures, nibbling on herbs and clover and when the time comes and they are too old to be milked, they see their life out on the farm in happy retirement. It's said one of their oldest cows lived to 38!

The cheese I'm looked at today is a Vintage Cheddar - but don't be lulled by this rather nondescript black cylinder - this is one vintage cheddar that bites back!

elgaar farm vintage cheddar© by haalo

Cheese Maker: Elgaar Farm
Cheese Name: Club Cheese
Location: Deloraine, Tasmania

elgaar farm vintage cheddar© by haalo

Peel off the black wax and this golden core of cheese appears, made from selected wheels of Aged Vintage Cheddar - you could be excused for thinking that it's butter.

elgaar farm vintage cheddar© by haalo

Texture wise it's soft with a slight crumbly texture and it just entices you to cut off a large chunk. But beware, beyond the creamy mouth feel, there's a massive kick, a spice unlike most cheddars out there. I must admit it even caught Paalo by surprise - my warning came a little too late as he succumbed to temptation and popped a generous shard into his mouth. His initial reaction to the pleasant creaminess soon gave way as the cheese bit back.

I would recommend serving this with something more robust than a cracker - a hearty grain bread is a better match. Pickled onions and gherkins, cured meats and this cheddar will round out a rather pleasant ploughman's platter.

Originally published here

Thursday, 21 September 2006

Udder Delights Goats Camembert

They may have a quirky name but Udder Delights produce seriously good cheese.

Founded in 1999 and based in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia they are most well known for their goat cheese though they have recently expanded their range to include Jersey cow milk cheese.

udder delights goats camembert© by haalo

Cheese Maker - Udder Delights
Cheese Name - Goats Camembert
Location - 15/1 Adelaide Lobethal Rd, Lobethal, South Australia
I should note that a Cheese Cellar will be opening in Spring 2006, located at Hahndorf. It will be a centre for sales, tastings, education and include a café.

In this silver parcel lays a cheese that wanders the line between solid and liquid. This is made in the Normandy style using non-animal rennet.

Before serving this cheese it's most important to get an indication of it's level of maturation - this is done by gently squeezing the sides of the cheese. At full maturation the cheese is liquid and would be served by just cutting off the top of the cheese and serving it as is, with the rind as a bowl.

udder delights goats camembert© by haalo

This cheese has about 2 weeks to go before reaching that total molten state so it's safe to cut - there's some softness when squeezed so I will get some of that desirable oozing

udder delights goats camembert© by haalo

This illustrates the two states - the cheese is maturing from the rind to the core - in two weeks time that solid section will have converted.

udder delights goats camembert© by haalo

I don't know about other people, but I find this type of cheese very hard to resist. It's best to serve this at room temperature, to maximise the ooze and release the flavours, just take it out of the fridge about an hour before you want to eat (or drink) it.

udder delights goats camembert© by haalo

Tastewise, it has a creamy mouth-feel - the rind is quite mild at this state and this cheese should appeal to all cheese lovers.

It's an utterly delightful cheese!

Originally published here

Sunday, 10 September 2006

Yarra Valley Dairy Grabbetto

A most picturesque part of Victoria, located in the east, just over an hour away from Melbourne, you'll find the Yarra Valley. Besides being home to one of our great wine regions, it's also where you'll find the Yarra Valley Dairy.

yarra valley dairy© by haalo

Yarra Valley Dairy was established in 1996 and produces a range of cows and goats milk cheese that are made in a French/Italian style using non-animal rennet.

Still located in a hundred year old shed, the dairy's retail side has changed somewhat since my last visit. There used to be quite a nice cafe but it has downsized considerable to make way for more cheese making facilities. A viewing window now enables you to get up-close and watch the cheese-making process.

They have added a new wine hub which features wines from some of the smaller wineries that don't yet offer cellar door facilities . Cheese tastings are still available and you can sit back and relax with coffee or if you're in need of a larger cheese fix, platters can be purchased.

yarra valley dairy grabetto© by haalo

Cheese Maker - Yarra Valley Dairy
Cheese Type - Grabbetto: Ashed and White Mould Goat Cheese
Location - McMeikans Road, Yering, Victoria
Open: Daily 10.30am - 5.00pm

Grabbetto is a curd style goat's cheese, matured between 2-4 weeks it's noted for its unusual truncated cone shape.

On the left is the young ashed Grabbetto and to the right, the mature version, in which white mould has developed to form a thick skin.

The ash makes a great contrast to the pure white curd - soft and delicate, very easy to cut.

The mould is still quite soft to the touch, when cut the maturation process is visible.

yarra valley dairy grabetto© by haalo

The distinct line will move towards the centre as time passes - the core is more brittle when compared to it's surrounds. This cheese was used in my Mediterranean Scrambled Eggs - the core melted more quickly in the heat of the eggs whereas the outer layers stayed intact, this made for a nice textural detail in the dish

Mediterranean Scrambled Eggs© by haalo

Both these cheeses should appeal to the goat cheese novice and veteran alike.

yarra valley dairy grabetto© by haalo

Originally published here

Monday, 28 August 2006

Red Hill Cheese Indulgence

Inspired by Farmhouse cheese-making in Europe, Red Hill Cheese was established in 2000 at Red Hill in the scenic Mornington Peninsula, here in my home state of Victoria.

Using organic cow milk and free-range goat milk from single herds they produce a range of seasonal cheese. It's worth noting that a vegetarian rennet is used and that they are free of artificial stabilisers and preservatives.

Red Hill Indulgence© by Haalo

Cheese Maker: Red Hill Cheese
Cheese Type: Indulgence (Cow)
Location: 81 William Road (Off Arthurs Seat Road), Red Hill
Cellar Door: Open daily Noon-5pm (except Christmas, Boxing Day & Good Friday)

Indulgence is a curd style, cows' milk cheese - and sold in two forms, fresh and aged. When young it's snow white in colour but as it matures it darkens. It's skin moves from a soft wrinkle to having a more waxy appearance. Indulgence is described as a "sweet-lactic, creamy, fine-textured, wrinkled, traditional soft cheese." This particular cheese is the aged version.

Red Hill Indulgence© by Haalo

There's a note on the side of the cheese alerting us to the fact that there may be some blue mould on the cheese - it's just due to the cheese-making process - natural floras are allowed to develop in the cellars.

Red Hill Indulgence© by Haalo

You can see some traces of how white it is when first made - this is about 2 weeks from being fully matured.

Red Hill Indulgence© by Haalo

I quite like it's compact barrel shape - there's some character to it.

Red Hill Indulgence© by Haalo

Opened, it gives a good idea of how it's matured - the smooth, creamy line near the rind indicates a fully matured state - the maturation moves from the outside towards the centre.

There's quite a bit of flavour accompanying a sweet, mouth filling creaminess. There's also a definite saltiness to it's taste but that gives it a clean flavour.

All up, an interesting cheese with a lot of character and a unique taste.

Originally published here

Saturday, 19 August 2006

King Island Dairy Discovery Scrubbed Brie

King Island is located in Bass Strait - a notorious stretch of water between Victoria and Tasmania. This small island is home to less than 2000 people - its main industries are fishing (cray and abalone), beef, wool, kelp and most famously dairying.

The environment is quite pristine - pastures are pollution and chemical free. No feed supplements or growth additives are used.

It's also home to that most well-known dairy - King Island Dairy.

king island scrubbed brie© by haalo

Cheese Maker - King Island Dairy
Cheese Type - Discovery Scrubbed Brie
Location - King Island

The first thing that you will notice, even before opening the box is the definite aroma of mushrooms - a very pleasant aroma.

Opening the box, you'll find your golden ingot of sorts - well, it is a gold wrapped bar.

King Island Dairy Discovery Scrubbed Brie©by haalo

As you unwrap it's almost like "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", no lucky ticket but there's an increase in that mushroom scent.

King Island Dairy Discovery Scrubbed Brie©by haalo

You might be asking what exactly is a "scrubbed brie"?

King Island Dairy Discovery Scrubbed Brie©by haalo

It's a cows milk Brie, made using traditional French techniques that is wrapped Brevi Linens then hand scrubbed to give it those earthy, mushroom aromas. It has a distinctive saffron skin - it's not as intense as a washed rind cheese and would be a good introduction to this genre of cheese.

King Island Dairy Discovery Scrubbed Brie©by haalo

As you cut through you'll notice is soft texture, it's almost butter like colouring. Taste wise, it's soft and creamy with delicate mushroom tones.

It is best served at room temperature - you'll notice that it would become softer and have that wonderful gooey characteristic.

King Island Dairy Discovery Scrubbed Brie©by haalo

It really is a great cheese for a cheese platter - it's a bit unusual but it should be something everyone would enjoy.

Originally published here

Monday, 24 July 2006

Woodside Cheese Wrights Virgo

Based in the Adelaide Hills (in South Australia) Woodside Cheese Wrights was started in 1994 by Paula Jenkin and subsequently purchased in 1998 by Coriole Vineyards. They produce both cow and goat milk cheese that are hand made and free from artificial preservatives or stabilisers. Batch Pasteurisation is used which is a slower pasteurisation method - it's said to be more gentle on the milk structure and results in the retention of the seasonal variances of the milk.

woodside cheese wrights virgo©haalo

Cheese Maker - Woodside Cheese Wrights
Cheese Name - Virgo
Location - Woodside, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

woodside cheese wrights virgo©haalo

The cheese is extremely soft, almost fragile - there's a very light, white mould that continues to develop as the cheese ages.

woodside cheese wrights virgo©haalo

Next to the rind sits an almost runny layer, the cheese becomes firmer but retains a curd like appearance as you move to the centre.

woodside cheese wrights virgo©haalo

This does have a pronounced goat cheese tang - it's sharp but the flavours are quite clean. It's exceptionally moist and very creamy in the mouth with low acid levels.

Compared to the Holy Goat Mature Veloute it's much more stronger in flavour - not a cheese to start with if you are a goat cheese beginner.

Originally published here

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Holy Goat Mature Veloute

There's a lot of good things said about our produce so I thought I might explore some of the items we should justifiably be proud of.

Cheese is a slightly contentious product, centred upon the debate about raw milk cheese - here in Australia we aren't allowed to produce cheese from raw milk and up until recently there has been bans on the importation of raw milk cheese (exceptions to this were the hard-cooked curd cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano). The laws have been relaxed a little and we can now get some raw milk cheese, it's still a risky venture for the importers. Lovers of Roquefort know the pain.

With the limitations of the production of certain cheese, we still produce some fine dairy products. For my first cheese, I'll be showing an organic goat's cheese produced here in my home state of Victoria.

Cheese Maker - Holy Goat
Cheese Name - Mature Veloute
Location - Sutton Grange Organic Farm, Victoria

Hand made in the French-style from an Organic Certified (Level A) Goat herd. Slow lactic acid fermentation combines with hand ladling into individual forms where the cheese is allowed to drain purely under the effect of gravity.

Veloute is described as a "barrel shaped cheese with a white mould surface and delicate flavour at 3 weeks which becomes more complex and nutty as it matures between 3-10 weeks"

I particularly enjoy the mushroom aroma and taste from the white mould rind (very similar to Camembert), there's a bit of that goat cheese tang at the back of the palate but it's wrapped in the creaminess of the cheese.

Originally published here