We are a cheesy lot around here. Many a Friday evening will find us tucking into a mature goat cheese, Tuesday lunchtime trying out a new Brie. It's the nature of working surrounded by so many good things.
Spring brings birth in farmers' fields and the consistency of milk begins to change in accordance with seasons. It is about to be a GLORIOUS time for fresh goat and sheep cheeses.
Woodside Cheese Wrights in the Adelaide Hills write in their blog:
Living in supermarket-land, I think it's easy to forget that cheese has a timing and a precision all its own, just like broad beans and fresh asparagus. A living thing to be coaxed and cared for.I have cheeses that have seasons. They are made with milk that is at its peak in terms of freshness, fat, protein and mineral content and it is perfectly determined by the animals themselves.... It is to say that cheese made with spring goat milk is the BEST time for this cheese to be made. And you can taste the difference. In spring the goats will graze on young green shoots in pastures which are sweet and nutritious and this is transferred directly to the milk. Producing a floral and herbaceous smell in the cheese room that is truly unforgettable. I love this time and the way the cheeses come together with ease, the sweetness in the milk is a motivation in itself.
And to celebrate Spring and glorious cheese, we are holding free Cheese Appreciation Classes every Friday in October. Angelo from the Cheese Shop Deli, a man who lives, breathes and dances cheese, will conduct a tasting and discussion about 4 very different cheeses including blue, brie, cheddar and a 'mystery cheese' (I am not sure I want to know what a 'mystery cheese' is and I wish you all the best of luck).
We are also celebrating Cheese Week from Saturday 26 October to Saturday 2 November, with cooking demonstrations, cheese tastings, cheese and wine pairing. There's a hamper pack up for grabs valued at over $300 (imagine All That Cheese.) Kids can make their own cheese ball and you can learn how to make your own cheese at home.
I sat down to talk to Angelo about what makes a great cheese (okay, I nabbed him by a fruit stand last Saturday) and he told me that:
It's a balance between product and artisanal craft to get something that's balanced, that's live and that's delicious. There are so many different varieties of cheese, but that's what people like. A balanced flavour means that you don't get anything untoward on the palate that's inconsistent with the base flavour ... you don't have too much acid, you don't have too much fat, it's just a wonderful experience.
And if you miss out, well hard (Aussie) cheddar