Visit a cheese counter that cut and wraps to order, cheeses are happier in this environment.
Be bold, welcome the food adventure for new taste horizons, don’t be intimidated. Relax and find your cheesy Zen place.
Taste, taste, taste, a good cheesemonger will insist you do. You can’t shop with your eyes.
Taste versus talk – ignore all the anecdotal twaddle, let taste be your driver.
Consider seasonal cheeses, these will be at their best.
Select what’s tasting best to you.
Less is more; big pieces of cheese versus lots of assorted little cuts.
What’s tasting good right now…
Flat White pasteurised goats milk, microbial rennet, 24 hours old, made in Taupaki. Moist & mousse-like & very creamy but just firm enough to be cut.
A cheese in most simplest form, arriving from the farm to me at a day old, often still draining in their hoops. Elegant stuff with a very clear traceability in its production. An evangelical one for folks who ‘don’t do goats’.
Tenara pasteurised goats milk, traditional rennet, 3 weeks old, made in Kaikoura. A mousse paste enrobed in my favourite bacteria Geotrichum, producing a delicate lactic beauty.
I’ve been talking about this cheese with the cheesemaker and the public and anyone else who will listen for the last 8 months. A game changing NZ cheese; a new world and old world cheese in one delicious morsel.
Brie de Meaux unpasteurised cows milk, traditional rennet, 5 weeks old, made in Seine-et-Marne, France. With added cream enveloped in a shroomy bloom, the Queen of the softies
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it right. The classic food porn bloomy, cheese for grownups, all unstable and raw and oozy.
Pink and White Terraces pasteurised sheeps milk, traditional rennet, 5 weeks old, made in the Hawkes Bay. Washed in brine & wine for 5 weeks, big fudgey umami wonder.
New Zealand is like a washed rind cheese, her affinage rewarded with a devoted following of flora & fauna. My first visit to Joanie’s Pink and White Terraces resulted in an excited expletive laden email of how much I enjoyed my trip and that I wanted everyone to visit too. Like it’s namesake, the cheese is a veritable natural wonder. Made with traditional rennet (almost all NZ cheese is vege rennet) the cheese packs a pungent punch of flavour. It’s not a bully & it’s not a pussy either. Flying below the radar, you won’t see it win any NZ Cheese Award this year – it wasn’t entered. You be the judge, take a trip to the Pink and White Terraces, it’s a renaissance of real cheese.
Gorwydd Caerphilly unpasteurised cows milk, traditional rennet, 3 months old, made in Llanddewi Brefi, Ceredigion. The grey rind has an earthiness. The middle is springy, fresh and lemony. The best bit is the layer next to the rind, which is yellow, creamy and deeply delicious.
A lot of bang for your buck, this is a cheese of three parts and all of them good. A proper crumbly that likes a pint or three.
Mahoe Very Old Edam thermised cows milk, microbial rennet, 1 year old, made in Kerikeri. Veritable cheese candy – a mild, sweet and nutty flavour with a semi-firm texture that melts in the mouth.
Young and buttery with a smattering of tyrosine crystals, uncanny ability to taste like a 3 year old cheese. A joy to eat and a real crowd pleaser with its own dance.
Mount Eliza Farmhouse Cheddar unpasteurised cows milk, traditional rennet, 10 months old, made in Katikati. Rich, sweet, fruity, nutty, beefy flavours.
Been expecting a text all week from Mount Eliza Cheese with the good news and was delighted to receive it yesterday, MPI have released Chris and Jill’s first batch of Farmhouse Cheddar for sale. All the fuss cause it’s unpasteurised. It’s a renaissance of a New Zealand raw milk tradition that once thrived and is now slowly starting again. It’s all thanks to the tenacity of Chris and Jill to get this over the line & stay true to their vision to produce a traditional NZ cheddar ‘like the old days’.
Stichelton unpasteurised cows milk, traditional rennet, 4 months old, made in Notinghamshire. Like blue butter – a pioneer seeking to rediscover an English raw milk stilton tradition. Seminal food adventure.
A bucket list cheese. A champion of all things good and proper in cheesemaking. While the new world mechanises and speeds up production, Stichelton cruises along like Nanna going for a Sunday drive. It’s the slow food business for a reason. The milk is afforded all the opportunity to express itself, without the performance anxiety of premature maturing room antics with this.
As an aside: NZ made a cheese a lot like Stichelton called Saxelby Stilton, but it and other NZ provincial cheeses ceased production in the pursuit of supplying high volume commodity dairy products instead. It might not be considered in the national interest, but I do think it important that there is a vibrant artisan cheesemaking movement in NZ.