Building & painting the nest has not been conducive for cheesemaking, so I’ve been growing my own rennets Galium verum & Cynara cardunculus in the interim. In a world using GMO rennets, & kid & lamb rennet almost impossible to find in NZ, I’ve decided to try to take the rennet power back. My friend Jan & I are discussing making our own kid rennet, & I’m keen on making a pig rennet cheese too.
On a recent tiki tour to the Far North, I finally visited Mahoe Cheese. Jesse Rosevear & his brother Jake kindly showed me about their dairy, having heard about me on a recent trip to Britains best Cheese Shop. Now I have a thing for washed rinds (see It will all come out in the wash) and it was Jesse’s Mahoe Cardoon washed rind that got me all excited.
Jesse was keen to make a cheese a bit different from their standard gouda. He read about cardoons a couple of years ago and promptly bought some seedlings at the local farmers market. ‘The plant grows crazy here’ Jesse says, ‘actually I’m getting a bit nervous about the amount of selfseeded plants coming up in the surrounding paddocks.’
Affter a bit of experimentation with coagulating milk, Jesse had a crack at making some cheese until he found a recipe that worked for him.
Jesse sees the most challenging part of the process is the maturation. ‘Being a washed rind cheese, it requires constant attention. Keeping humidity constant is the key. I wash the cheese in a salt solution, nothing fancy. They are ready from about 4 weeks and definitely taste best at a more than ambient temperature. I like it left out for a few hours, sweating and oily. My plan for this cheese is to produce it seasonally in small quantities for the local northland market.’
Cue synchronicity. Last week Jesse was awarded a Champion Original NZ Cheese Gold Medal for his Mahoe Cardoon in the 2011 Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards. ‘Makes me want to make it better. It topped off a good awards for us at Mahoe Cheese; 9 medals from 9 entries with 4 golds. Jake and I sank a few homebrews that night.’
Me too. Applause for more rennet diversity in NZ cheese!