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