What is it about Tasmanian cheese that makes it so good? Maybe the Tassie cows are happier than most, in their paddocks of lush, green grass. Do they produce nicer tasting milk as a result of their contentment? Maybe we have very clever cheese-makers who turn out the fine product we all love. Who knows!
Did Someone Say… Cheese?
What we do know about cheese in Tasmania is this: the dairy industry here wins an inordinate amount of awards. There’s always news floating around about another medal or two collected for Tasmania’s trophy cabinet.
The business of cheese making is also done well here in Tasmania. Bruny Island Cheese Company won a trio of prizes at the Tasmanian Telstra Awards for Excellence in Business last year, and then went on to take out the biggest trophy of all at the national titles.
Bruny Island Cheese Co
Bruny Island offers some exotic treats for food lovers (like me!). Do visit Bruny Island Cheese Co. and taste some fine artisan cheese. These unique cheeses are truly a product of their environment. They say that age is of no importance, unless you are a cheese! Cheese maker Nick Haddow believes passionately in the old way of making and maturing cheese. For Nick making cheese is a pursuit of integrity, authenticity and flavour.
Ashgrove Cheese Platter at Festivale
To be honest, before we moved to Tasmania, cheese was just another food to include sporadically in a varied diet. It’s not exactly a health food, after all. Lately, we’ve been feeling a bit addicted to the stuff, in all its glorious forms.
At Festivale for example, we couldn’t go past the platter from Ashgrove Cheese. The sample plate contained a ricotta mixture that we didn’t really care for, but the rest… divine! Even the flavoured butters had us wanting more of the olive bread. Thinking about it now, and salivating. Honestly, we need an intervention!
Grandvewe Cheeses, Birchs Bay
Grandvewe Cheeses was one of the first venues we chose to visit as tourists, during our Geeveston house-sitting introduction to Tasmania more than five years ago. Back then, one of our kids had food intolerance issues, with cow’s milk originally on the no-go list. We were excited to find cheese, yoghurt and ice-cream he could actually eat, made as it is from sheep’s milk. A big smile on your child’s face… what could be better? No wonder we have fond memories of this gourmet experience. We moved here permanently after enjoying truly amazing local gems, including this one, and we’re particularly glad we did.
Pyengana Dairy, North East Tasmania
Pyengana Dairy was first brought to our attention by Gina Scott of Platypus Park Country Retreat in Bridport. Gina wrote a lovely series for Think Tasmania about the highlights of the north east region. A family visit to Pyengana Dairy was sandwiched between Ralphs Falls and St Columba Falls, accompanied by a side serve of pig at the Pub in the Paddock.
We were fortunate to also visit Pyengana Dairy in person during our three-night stay at Tin Dragon Trail Cottages in Branxholm. Our host Graham (accompanied by his son James) gave us an extensive tour of the local area, and one of many stops included some cheese-tasting and a look-see at the dairy, cows and cheese-making process. The Pyengana cheddar with sun-dried tomato is totally delicious in our humble opinion.
Wicked Cheese, Richmond
If you’re a cheese connoisseur, you’ll find the name “wicked” completely appropriate, for sure. Having sampled several varieties made on-site, we’re yet to taste one we wouldn’t recommend. One of our kids loves the brie so much, it’s practically inhaled instantaneously before the rest of us have a chance to choose a cracker.
Master cheese-maker (and business owner) Ashley McCoy is truly passionate about his craft and chatted with us over a morning tea spent at the factory near Richmond. Wicked Cheese products have also won a wealth of awards, as too has the business. Ashley declared the top two non-negotiable aspects of running a successful enterprise were caring for staff and caring for customers. Making a damn fine piece of cheese obviously goes a long way towards that success too!
With agri-tourism and gourmet experiences high on the wish-list of many Think Tasmania readers, no doubt we’ll be writing more about the food and beverage industry in the future. And of course, we’ll continue sampling the goods so we can offer an informed opinion. We’re dedicated like that, hey? We’d love to know if you have a favourite Tasmanian cheese. Feel free to leave a comment in the reply section below, and tell us all about it.
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