Magic Kaikoura Mushrooms

The Kaikoura Mushroom, a seasonal collaboration by Kaikoura Cheese and me; I’m the ideas man, Daniel is the action man. Concept to think tank to development, to manufacturer, to customer. All within two weeks.






Chef Josh plating up the Mushroom at The Grove


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To this end, I ask those interested to join Biddy in this petition.

Biddy has launched a petition to seek a much fairer way of apportioning costs for all small scale artisan NZ cheesemakers. Biddy is no stranger to championing the little cheese folks in NZ.


Biddy recently made a submission on the recent public MPI consultation regarding annual levies for small production artisan cheesemakers.  MPI came up with a new lower  of 16,500 kg of milk solids, an improvement on the previous lower level of 316,000. Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese last financial year produced 1200 kg of milk solids.

Biddy is suggesting the lowest fee payable ($465) multiplied by the actual milk solids produced by the cheesemaker, divided by the lowest level set by MPI.  in Biddy’s case the formula would look like this:

465 X 1200


16500        = 33.80  and GST on this is $5.96 giving a total of $39.76.

Biddy is more than happy to pay MPI an annual levy of $39.76 as this would be a fair calculation of the levy payable of her actual raw milk solids collected than paying a levy based on raw milk solids of 16,500 kg. Biddy’s petition can be viewed and signed online here. To this end, I ask those interested to join Biddy in this petition. #CheeseSolidarity

biddy petition
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Never envy a man his cheese.

This week Miel Meyer, the chairman of the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association & the face of the Meyer Gouda Cheese company, appeared on the Paul Henry Show to give his ‘Cheese man’s choices for a spread’. It’s only 3mins but it got my goat.

the miel2

Paul’s brief to Miel was to select ‘the perfect cheese board’, a cheese platter to envy. Miel selected the below, which included his own cheese – cheeky as Paul put it.

the miel

Now I doubt Miel actually selected these, apart from his own cheese that is. I suspect the studio acted last minute and popped down the supermarket and grabbed anything New Zealandy off the shelf for this segment, then spun it as the Chairman of the NZSCA’s choices. Watching the segment, Miel looked as surprised as me at his selections.

The NZSCA celebrate and showcase their own medal system for NZ cheese champions. Its an expensive exercise for folks looking for cheese glory. So it didn’t go unnoticed that no 2015 Category Champions or even the 2015 Champion of Champions was afforded another 3mins of fame here in this ‘cheese platter to envy’.

After the live broadcast, these ‘Top NZ Cheese’ tweets popped out to over 10,000 of Paul Henry’s followers…

the miel3   the miel4

the miel5  the miel6

Pretty weird huh. A bit of a bummer for NZ cheese in my opinion.  Being at the coal face of trade and retail cheese sales I can comfortably say I don’t envy this cheese selection at all. And from what I’ve heard, neither does anyone else.  Especially given its now the peak of the NZ farm cheese season.

If there is ever another opportunity to chat cheese on The Paul Henry Show, I hope someone does their homework and talks and tastes with an independent cheesemonger about whats tasting good in New Zealand cheese. There is such a breadth of cheese available now to properly pimp out your platter!

Don’t delay, visit your cheesemonger today.

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Talk curdy to me, thanks to the Auckland Dairy Goat Club

Sat 3 October I invited Carol, Kyle and Wendy and their alpine dairy goats to join me to help kick off the NZ Cheese Month celebrations. I met Carol moons ago at the Kumeu A&P show. Goat people are the best. They are members of the Auckland Dairy Goat Club.

We had 3 milking does, 2 yearlings and 5 new born kids. Wendy gave milking demos and there were plenty of cuddles with the baby goats. Lots of good goat vibes, likely to repeat this at the next Market Day Nov 8.

I took the milk collected home with the view to make some cheese however my 1 year old toddler took on a Cleopatra role and bathed himself in it when I wasn’t looking!

    20151003_113741_resized_3  20151003_125614_resized_1  20151003_125704_resized20151003_111150_resized_1

auckland dairy goat club  emily

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Taste this.

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.

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Traditional NZ cheddar ‘like the old days’

Been expecting a text all week from Mount Eliza Cheese with the good news and was delighted to receive it today, 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’. A veritable #NZcheeseMonth moment.


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#CheeseSolidarity in Eketahuna

It all started on one of the regular phone chats with Biddy while on my commute home; the return of a grassroots cheese event in provincial NZ, like they did in the good old days. The idea was to host a fun forum to highlight the expensive regulatory hoops NZ cheesemakers currently navigate in their pursuit to create a traditional dairy foodstuff. The timing of the #NZcheeseMonth seemed a good opportunity to ‘have a go’. So here we are.


Biddy is a NZ cheesemaking legend. She describes herself as a ‘late developing geriatric peasant’, working with her girls Dizzy, Holly, Isobel & Patsy to produce a talisman of their adventures.

Volunteers and offers of help have snowballed. This is a not for profit gig. This event has evolved it’s own mojo and positive energy with the shared goal of real NZ cheese run and managed by NZ cheese people. Where there is a will there is whey. Its a refreshing antidote to the other events on the NZ cheese calendar.

Details of the pop-up are here at Cwmglyn Farm. If you can’t make it – like me – a share of this post would help the promise of a vibrant sustainable future for small scale New Zealand farm cheesemakers.

biddy etiquette

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