The Holy Cow Cafe at Pyengana Dairy was our scheduled lunch break during a tour of north east Tasmania with Graham and James from Tin Dragon Trail Cottages. It was a good choice! Given the day was a little damp, we were very happy to dry off in front of the wood heater and take in the views of rural pastures, after a brisk walk to Ralphs Falls.
Pyengana Dairy: Two Rivers, Many Cows
Graham asked us over lunch if we knew what “Pyengana” meant. We didn’t. Apparently, it’s an aboriginal word meaning the meeting of two rivers. The two rivers in this case being the North and South George Rivers, which meet at the foot of the valley to form the (just) George River. That makes sense. That river continues on to George’s Bay (George has a bit of a monopoly on naming rights!) in St Helens on the Tasmanian east coast, less than 30kms away.
Real Milk from Real Cows
Pyengana Dairy is the real deal. It’s not just a tourist attraction with a few strategically-placed cows around as props. The business end of the business, the milking sheds and the cows, surround the cafe. Now I was raised on a farm, and my parents did milk cows occasionally, so I’ve seen plenty of farm animals in my time.
I’m not saying I was a “farm girl” (my parents and friends would laugh out loud at that suggestion!) but I have been amongst it. That fact, however, did not stop me rushing outside with my camera when a herd of calves ran past, following a quad-bike. And I wasn’t the only one!
While you’re outside, you can also view the cheese-makers making cheese. What else would they be doing? If you time it right, you can see the huge rounds of award-winning Pyengana Dairy cheddar being squeezed together, and for the novice it’s an interesting process to watch. You can also weigh yourself on the industrial-strength scales at the front. Cheeky young James Cashion tried to convince me to hop on, but I’m not that silly!
You can sample some of the cheese (which is truly delicious) inside the Holy Cow Cafe. It’s a bit difficult to choose a favourite, but I can recommend the flavoured cheddar including sun-dried tomato, and caraway. As with many things, personal preference will play a part. When you visit Pyengana Dairy yourself, you can make up your own mind.
Holy Cow Cafe: Everything Except Batman
Besides their cheese, the Pyengana Dairy shopping experience covers crafts made locally from Tasmanian timbers; jams and preserves, and other assorted souvenirs including cow-themed knick knacks. There’s paintings to admire as you wait for your lunch to be prepared.
Our visit to north east Tasmania was in June during Tasmanian school holidays… so during winter. Despite the chilly weather, the Holy Cow Cafe was packed. The place was popular with both tourist couples and family groups. The staff were very welcoming of everyone, providing high chairs where required and catering for kids.
Another Tasmanian Foodie Experience
We didn’t have to wait long to be served, with a smile, and the food was first class. The rainy weather didn’t stem the tide of ice-cream and milkshake orders either! And just to rival Think Tasmania feature-writer Michelle (who has a habit of “sharing” scrumptious-looking food with her readers), here’s a shot of our chocolate brownie. Rich and decadent, and worthy of a return visit to Pyengana Dairy again one day.
So that’s another fabulous experience on offer in north east Tasmania, where there seems to be something for everyone, including the dedicated foodie. We left the Holy Cow Cafe and drove about 12kms up the road past the Pub in the Paddock to St Columba Falls, the next stop on our tour.
To find out more, including where you can purchase your own taste of award-winning cheese, visit the Pyengana Dairy website or phone (03) 6373 6157.
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