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Published on : Friday, August 12, 2016
Hit the trail and see why New Zealand’s artisan cheese industry is blooming as a new generation of cheese-makers returns to age-old ways to craft the tastiest cheeses.Beyond the green pastures, New Zealand’s best little cheesemakers will put temptation in your way as you travel the highways and byways discovering how a new generation of artisan food producers are putting old ways back in fashion.
Until the 1920s, New Zealand was dotted with small cheese factories as in the days before refrigeration, the milk could only travel a few kilometres before it spoiled. But, in the past couple of decades that industry has been revived, as a new generation of cheese-makers up and down the country – many of them farmers as well – has started making cheese with all that fabulous milk.
The North Island of New Zealand has great artisan cheese offerings.
Start in the far north at Mahoe Cheese near Kerikeri, which has won multiple prizes, including the Champion of Champions at the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards. You’ll find the cheesery and the farm shop down a long gravel driveway off State Highway 10 on Anna and Bob Rosevear’s family farm – son Tim milks just 60 Fresian cows, while brothers Jesse and Jake turn it into Dutch-style cheese: the “Very Old Gouda” is beautifully tart and complex.
Award winning artisan cheesemakers Grinning Gecko source top quality certified organic milk from a local farm and make some of New Zealand’s finest soft cheeses. From their little factory situated in the heart of Whangarei, Northland, you can view cheese being handmade three or four days of the week.
From there, head south towards Auckland – via the scenic route down State Highway 16 – stopping at the Matakana Farmers’ Market for Whangaripo buffalo mozzarella.
Along the way, just outside the city in Taupaki, drop in on Crescent Dairy, which farms goats organically and produces just one or two cheeses a day. The products are phenomenal – the Dirty Devil washed-rind creation is for the serious cheese obsessive, while the Parvenu mild farmhouse is gentle, beautifully soft and creamy.
Meanwhile, on Auckland’s North Shore, Il Casaro makes fabulous, authentic mozzarella in a warehouse, from milk sourced just outside the city. The mozzarella is springy on the outside, just holding together on the inside: not surprisingly, it’s been a hit with Auckland restaurants but you can also buy it direct from the factory shop and several markets.
Just five minutes from the heart of Auckland City is Sabato a fine food and specialist store with a particularly awesome cheese section. Literally a one stop shop to try a huge array of New Zealand made cheese and buy some to have with a wine on an Auckland City culinary adventure. Resident cheesemonger Calum Hodgson is a self confessed ‘curd nerd’ and is a wealth of information about cheeses from all over the world especially New Zealand.
Source:-Tourism New Zealand