Posts Categorized: Cheese

Cheese is about to get a lot more tasty

Which of the above cheese aren’t you allowed to eat? If they were made from raw milk then none. But if proposals put forward by Food Standards ANZ (FANZ) go through only the hard and semi hard cheeses. And you won’t be able to buy (legally) raw milk altogether. The world is divided as to whether unpasteurized milk products are dangerous or not because all sorts of allegedly nasty bugs live in it. Really though it isn’t necessarily a problem with modern hygiene and more sustainable farming practices. What pasteurization means is taking milk to a high temperature for short time (usually at least 71.7C or 161F for 15–20 seconds) or Ultra high pasteurization at 135C or 275F for at least one second which is what that nasty UHT milk is. The proponents of raw milk, which by definition hasn’t been heated above 40C (104F), say that it has many benefits to the body, the natural bacteria in our tummies and actually help people with allergies. I drink it myself when I can get hold of it and can’t speak highly enough of it for flavour and creaminess. If you ever get the chance texturing (frothing) raw milk to the standard temperature of about 65.5C to 68C (150-155F) for your latte the sweetness of your coffee will be a revelation. There are four options for FANZ. It can stick with the current rules which provide a loophole for some raw milk cheeses, allow very hard raw milk cheeses only, allow very hard and hard cheeses only and finally pretty much everything including raw milk and soft cheeses. In its risk analysis it seems that FANZ could live with very hard and hard raw milk cheeses being allowed because as long as all the correct processing standards are met nasty bugs won’t thrive in them. The problem it has, with the exception of raw milk soft goats cheese, is with raw cows milk itself and soft cheeses made from it. In Australia we now produce some excellent cheeses as you can see from this Top 10 list. By alloying cheesemakers to use raw milk’ it will contribute to greater diversity and better tasting cheese. Like anything that feeds from the products on the land whether it be grapes, goats or cows there is a terroir. Even when it has been raining hard I can taste the added richness to the organic… Read more »

The top 10 Australian cheeses

Billy the goat cheese This is a guest post by Laurie Gutteridge. He runs the Taste Cheese website and blog and the splendid cheese room at Innocent Bystander in the Yarra Valley. You can also follow him on Twitter as taste_cheese. (If you have something on value to say I’m open to guest postings – send an email. Ed) My criteria when looking for a cheese? It starts with the understanding that a holistic view encompassing everything from the farming practises right through to the final cheese is vital. So many factors influence the final product – the soil, the grass, the weather, the milk, the cheesemaker, the cheesemakers decisions, maturation conditions, packaging, distribution and retailing. I look for unique cheeses that go some way to demonstrating these influences, rather than bland, derivative cheeses that can never be as good as the originals they aim to replicate. Often such unique cheeses will not be awarded medals at shows, because they don’t fit into preconceived categories of how a cheese ‘should’ be, whereas the bland ones are often technically sound and are rewarded as a result. This is an ever changing list, as every batch is different, and with smaller artisanal and farmhouse producers there is significant variation seasonally too. Have a look through my old blogposts and ‘webisodes’ for more information on these producers and their cheeses. Holy Goat ‘La Luna’ Needs no introduction, having developed a cult following. In my mind Carla & Ann-Marie are Australia’s best cheesemakers, and La Luna is Australia’s most consistently great cheese. Absolute attention to detail, from the land the animals graze to the packaging of the final cheese. Immaculate. Fromart ‘Devils Foot’ Unique hard cheese handmade with the milk of a single herd of Jersey cows by Christian Nobel in Eudlo, Queensland. Well balanced, sweet and savoury flavours are complemented with a creamy but open texture. Tongola ‘Billy’ Impeccable farmhouse cheese made by Hans & Esther with the milk of their 30 organically reared Toggenburg goats. Beautiful rind formation (you can tell it’s made by Swiss expats) that looks and smells ‘alive’ instead of deadened by over-zealous use of chlorine based cleaning products. Strong, nutty, farmy goat’s milk flavours. Piano Hill ‘Ironstone’ Ok, fair enough, the Brown family stopped making this bio-dynamic cheese nearly 2 years ago, but this was an example of a totally unique Australian farmhouse cheese. The 9 month cheeses… Read more »